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18 | Dispatch 24 | Latest Thought 28 | News Feature 31 | | | | 86 | Music 91 | Stage 94 | Movies



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There’s a new sheriff in town. Photo illustration by Christopher A. Jones.


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H. Lee Barnes served in the Clark County Sheriff’s Office for 4 ½ years, earning the rank of sergeant. In 1968 he and three officers from other agencies received Police Officer of the Year awards from the National Exchange Club. He is the author of seven books. His eighth, Cold Deck, a novel, will be released in March. Barnes, who teaches English and fiction writing at the College of Southern Nevada, was inducted into the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame in 2009. Maile Chapman is the author of the novel Your Presence Is Requested at Suvanto, and her short stories have appeared in A Public Space, Boston Review, Best American Fantasy Writing and elsewhere. She is an assistant professor in UNLV’s English Department and serves as editor of Witness magazine at the Black Mountain Institute.

Joe Donnelly is the co-founder and co-editor of Slake: Los Angeles, the award-winning journal of narrative journalism, fiction, essay, poetry, art and photography. “50 Minutes” a short story Donnelly wrote with Harry Shannon for Slake #2, is included in the prestigious collection Best American Mystery Stories 2012. Greg Blake Miller’s fascination with Russian culture plunged him into the adventure of post-Soviet Russia in the 1990s, when he was a staff writer at the Moscow Times and worked at Mosfilm studios. Back in the States, he continued to write about Russia, earning a Ph.D. in international communication from the University of Oregon. Miller, our managing editor, was named Nevada’s Outstanding Journalist of 2011 for his work at Vegas Seven.


LETTERS Nothing New Under the Spoon Sorry, guanciale is not new (“The Restaurant Awards,” Oct. 11). As any good Southerner will tell you, hog jowl is a staple for seasoning greens, green beans, black-eyed peas, etc. Using the Italian name doesn’t enhance the flavor, only the price. Locally, John Mull’s Meats carries it for a very reasonable price. – Tony Gasich

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Don’t miss our online video of The Tell, Vegas Seven’s live storytelling event, at Six storytellers, including Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist John L. Smith, cop/poet Harry Fagel and actor Joey Kern, tell their tales of larceny at 7 p.m. Oct. 18 at the Mob Museum, in the very room where the Kefauver Committee on organized crime grilled the underworld in 1950. The event is sold out, but our website’s got room for everyone. The video comes to a screen near you on Oct. 24. Once a cop, always a cop, says College of Southern Nevada professor H. Lee Barnes (Page 31). As if it were ever in doubt, listen as Barnes recounts a high-speed car chase on Christmas Day 1968 along Flamingo to Sandhill Road at




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October 18-24, 2012

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SKY AND TECHNOLOGY offered complementary splendors on the morning of Oct. 15, and this YESCO worker had a front-rope seat. The sign at Harmon Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard— the world’s largest full-motion LED screen—passed diagnostic muster. We hear the big blue canopy above it is just fine, too.

Have you taken a photo that captures the spirit of Las Vegas this week? Share it with us at



October 18-24, 2012

For more photos from social gatherings, visit


John Tesh: Big Band LIVE!

Pilobolus Dance Theatre

The entertainment icon presents his favorite big band tunes Sunday, 10/21 – 7:30pm

Jaw-dropping dance mixed with startling humor Wednesday, 10/24 – 7:30pm

Ballet Folklorico de Mexico The pinnacle of traditional Mexican dance and music Sunday, 11/4 – 7:30pm Monday, 11/5 – 7:30pm


Israel Philharmonic Orchestra


702 .749.2000

ZOPPÉ – An Italian Family Circus

Presenting the works of Schubert, Chopin and Brahms Monday, 10/29 – 7:30pm

A traditional one-ring circus right in Symphony Park Thursday, 11/1 – 7:00pm | Friday, 11/2 – 7:00pm Saturday, 11/3 – 2:00pm & 7:00pm Sunday, 11/4 – 2:00pm & 5:00pm

BRAZIL meets FUNK featuring Sergio Mendes and Candy Dulfer

Steppin’ Out With Ben Vereen

Jim Brickman’s On a Winter’s Night

Two award-winning stars explore the nature of Funk and Brazilian beats Friday, 11/9 – 7:30pm

A dazzling one-man show featuring the Tony®-winner himself Saturday, 11/10 – 7:30pm

A holiday performance by the best-selling solo pianist of our time Monday, 11/12 – 7:30pm


An Evening With Christine Ebersole: The End of the World As We Know It Cabaret

Friday, 10/19 – 8:30pm Saturday, 10/20 – 7:00pm & 9:30pm


An Evening with John Pizzarelli Friday, 10/26 – 8:30pm Saturday, 10/27 – 7:00pm & 9:30pm

Visit to see the full lineup today

361 Symphony Park Avenue, Las Vegas, NV 89106 TTY: 800.326.6868 or dial 711

“I don’t think people realize fully what a mine entails. It’s not just a hole in the ground.”


News, politics, media, essays and old mobsters

A Legend Forged in Neon By H K


October 18-24, 2012

BRIAN “BUZZ” LEMING has only one regret about his 50-year career as a sign designer: that historic preservation of his beloved neon art took so long. “The Dunes … they just knocked it down and threw it away. It was horrible,” Leming says.

Three years after the 1993 Dunes implosion, the Neon Museum nonprofit was officially launched. Now, after 16 years of planning, the museum opens to the public Oct. 27. For Leming, it’s personal. The 72-year-old is one of the last liv-

ing designers from the golden age of neon. He answered an ad for a part-time job at Western Sign Co. when he was 22 because he liked to draw. What started as a hobby kept Leming employed until he retired earlier this year.

Analysts are still cautious with their words—they’ve been burned before—but Las Vegas’ commercial real estate market seems to be heating up. Recently, one of the largest office building sales in Las Vegas history saw Fashion Show mall owner General Growth Properties unload 32 office buildings to an out-of-state partnership. Read the last part of that sentence again: Out-of-state investors wanted, they really wanted, a large amount of sparsely occupied Las Vegas office space. And they’re not alone. The 1.1 million-square-foot sale, of which only about 50 percent is leased, comes amid other promising news. Construction of the Shoppes at Summerlin Centre—the scaffolding next to Red Rock Resort that became a recession landmark—will resume in 2013. Henderson’s Vantage Lofts—another monument to the crash—will restart construction any day now. Copper Pointe, a nearly completed 75,000-square-foot office complex in the southwest, was recently purchased and

Leming has lived in Las Vegas since he was 5 years old, and fondly remembers childhood visits to Fremont Street to admire the lights. Later, he worked with legendary designers such as Young Electric Sign Co.’s Jack Larsen, Kermit Wayne, Herman Boernge and Ben Mitchum. “I went from viewing neon as an awesome light form to designing it,” Leming says. “It was pretty cool.” The designers had a play-

ful spirit, and would go to any length to come up with something new. Once, Leming says, Larsen pushed some kids out of the way and dove into a toy box, searching for miniature soldiers to put in a Caesars sign model. (That got the YESCO gang thrown out of the store.) Another time, they took apart decorative hairspray mounts at Wonder World and later used them for the lighting fixtures on the original Aladdin sign. Today’s LED light can’t pop like neon, Leming says. He’s happy to see technological advances bringing back the lost art of the gas-filled tubes. Although Leming is now retired, his love for the sign business lives on in his son, Brian “Red” Leming, who’s been a professional installer for three decades. Red has also had a hand in setting up nearly all the signs at the Neon Museum. “I’ve been lucky,” the elder Leming says, looking around the Neon Boneyard. “I’ve designed a whole lot of signs in this town.” “… And I’ve put a whole lot of them up,” the younger adds.

resuscitated, and Blue Diamond Marketplace, a small retail center in the southwest with only about 62 percent occupancy, recently changed hands. “There is a general sense by investors from outside the market that the worst may be in the rearview mirror,” says Brian Gordon, a principal with research firm Applied Analysis. More transactions are needed to get any sense of a real long-term trend. With office vacancy still topping 25 percent and retail vacancy above 10 percent, it looks like the Valley’s commercial real estate market will need plenty more of this “outsider” confidence, along with solid leasing activity to complement it. “It appears that the [commercial] sector is in the trough of the cycle,” Gordon says. “The real question remains: How long will the market tread water before making any notable positive improvements?” – Brian Sodoma

By B W THURSDAY, OCT. 18:

Why do it in downtown Las Vegas? Location, location, location. That alley is such a cool, natural setting. We use it for shoots, we use it for Fashion Alley—we know how to work with it, and we don’t have to build anything back there. And we’re trying to do a lot of productions downtown, so it just makes sense. With the Halloween Parade and all the stuff happening in the bars, downtown is just the place for us to be on Halloween. We’ll zip people through in 15 minutes, and after that, they can head right off to the bars. Why has Las Vegas become the world capital of Adult Halloween? It just fits. Vegas already is the adult capital of the world in entertainment. And Oct. 31 is Nevada Day—so locals have always had a special place in our hearts for Halloween because we got the day off of school. It seemed like we got the day off for Halloween. Because of that, Halloween seemed a lot bigger holiday to us than it might have seemed to other kids around the country. – Geoff Carter Haunted Alley, 6 p.m.-2 a.m. Oct. 31 behind the south side of Fremont East. Tickets on site: $20.







For our complete calendar, see Seven Days & Nights at

October 18-24, 2012

What is Haunted Alley? It’s not a typical haunted house, or even Goretorium. This is something more similar to a Universal Studios ride. It’s going to immerse guests in the action of a real movie scene—a zombie invasion. It’ll be scary because of your surroundings, scary because people are trying to grab you—but it won’t be gory. We’re hiring actors and stuntmen, and we’ll have real pyrotechnics.

No matter what subject someone was supposed to be presenting at the recent Nevada Health Care Forum in Green Valley, the conversation kept meandering back to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act— a.k.a. Obamacare. Even as the act is the season’s hottest political potato, many health care industry insiders see it as a fait accompli, particularly given the Supreme Court’s June ruling that the individual mandate is constitutional. Even forum speakers such as U.S. Rep. Joe Heck, R-Las Vegas, and Republican state Assemblyman Joe Hardy, both physicians, agreed that Obamacare can’t be repealed per se. “It’s a lot harder to take something away once it’s been given, than to never give it in the first place,” Hardy said. Heck added that the market has already started to adapt to the plan: Coverages have been extended, policies updated, computer programs written. That’s not to say Heck, Hardy and their political peers wouldn’t make some changes, given the chance. Heck pointed out three specific touchpoints on the horizon. First is the state-bystate implementation of online insurance exchanges—the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange, in our case. Herb K. Schultz, regional director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, described these as being the health-insurance equivalent of Expedia for travel. When the mandate for individual coverage kicks in Jan. 1, 2014, these exchanges will become critical. Second thing to watch out for: Medicaid expansion. To help the indigent and working poor afford the required coverage, Obamacare expands eligibility for Medicaid. States decide, however, if they want to participate in the expansion, making them eligible for matching federal funds. Expect this to be a major topic of discussion in the 2013 Nevada Legislature. Last is the independent payment advisory board, charged with achieving specified savings in Medicare without affecting coverage or quality. The board can’t reduce benefits or raise premiums, which leaves health care providers such as Heck concerned—the only area left to tinker with is reimbursements for providers. “You want us to give more people higher quality care for less money,” Hardy says. “The indirect impact will be fewer doctors accepting Medicare.” – Heidi Kyser


Between our nascent Halloween Parade and our proliferating number of haunted houses (including Eli Roth’s new year-round Goretorium), Halloween is a big production in Las Vegas. That’s good news for Chris Ramirez, whose downtown-based company, Silver State Production Services, specializes in big productions. Silver State provides technical and logistical support for feature films and television shows—but on his days off, Ramirez conducts Fremont East fashion shoots in the alleyway behind Downtown Cocktail Room and the Griffin. On Oct. 31, Ramirez will take over that alley once again—but he’s trading high fashion for high anxiety with Haunted Alley, an outdoor attraction that draws on all of Silver State’s film production know-how. Ramirez took a few minutes from planning the zombie apocalypse to talk about putting the “fun” back in “funeral.”


Why doesn’t Las Vegas have traffic roundabouts like Summerlin?

The Big Dump


October 18-24, 2012

By D S

THIS ELECTION CYCLE has brought much consternation and gnashing of teeth about tax loopholes. They’re top of mind and tip of the tongue for politicians, pundits and the public. In August, Bloomberg Businessweek’s Brendan Greeley wrote that doing away with such loopholes was “an idea appealing in principle and toxic in practice.” Greeley was speaking figuratively, but a number of legal loopholes are quite literally toxic. That’s the unappealing reality in some of the West’s most scenic spots, from the Rocky Mountains to Alaska’s Bristol Bay. Because of changes made in the Clean Water Act in 2002, hard-rock mining operations are able to dump more waste materials into more waterways than at any time since the act was originally passed in 1972. One proposed mine in northwest Montana would dump a jaw-dropping 13 million gallons of polluted water each year into freshwater streams, lakes and rivers.

“When the Clean Water Act was passed in 1972, it specifically prohibited mine waste from being disposed of in waterways, and the mining industry operated and permitted mines for years under those requirements,” says Bonnie Gestring of Earthworks, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting the environment from damage due to mineral and energy development. “Now, we have this new regulation that reverts responsible mine-waste disposal back to a century ago.” In 2002, the Bush administration—through the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers—limited the Clean Water Act in two significant ways: It redefined “waters” to allow mining developers to use natural lakes, wetlands, rivers and streams as “waste-treatment systems,” and it expanded the definition of permissible “fill material” to include waste from hardrock mines. The EPA now estimates that some 40 percent of Western water-

sheds are contaminated by heavy metals from hardrock mining. “I don’t think people realize fully what a mine entails,” says Jennifer Bock of the Crested Butte, Colo., High Country Citizens’ Alliance. “It’s not

the profit margin that exists because of high prices,” he says. “[But] the other part of it has to do with the new technologies that allow mining companies to go into areas that are so remote and off the grid that they

Is it true that the mob remains in Las Vegas, operating companies that supply goods and services to casinos? When someone describes a local spot as “like you aren’t even in Vegas,” what do they mean? just a hole in the ground; mines today are taking apart a mountain and then transporting waste rock, building tailings ponds, building dumps,” Meanwhile, technology is making it easier for mining companies to dig deeper into nature, says Nic Callero of the National Wildlife Federation. “Part of [mining’s strength] has to do with

would [previously] have been unthinkable.” Environmental organizations have been pressing for a rollback of the 2002 changes—and their arguments may be having an impact: Next year the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will convene for a rules review to reconsider the loopholes allowing for mining-waste disposal.


Taming the Broadband Frontier By D D

BROADBAND INTERNET IS no longer a luxury. Today, it is making the same transition that electricity and the telephone made a century or so ago, evolving from a premium service to a common convenience. But since not everyone can afford their own connections, the Nevada Broadband Task Force and the nonprofit Connect Nevada have teamed up to provide broadband access to rural areas and community centers in urban areas. Recently, these groups provided a $4.7 million grant to the Las Vegas Urban League to fund 31 public computing centers throughout the Valley. Those centers provide free Internet access, and also a jobreadiness program to help those seeking employment. On Oct. 24, the partnership hosts the second Nevada Broadband Summit at the Windmill Library, promoting access, adoption and use of broadband technology throughout the state. Topics at the summit include the creation of a telemedicine network for state hospitals, broadband access for the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Reserva-

force development. In the long run, widespread Internet access could help Nevadans become better educated, get better health care and become more active in e-commerce. In other words, it could help us evolve from one of the last frontier states to a fully active participant in the digital world. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 24, Windmill Library, 7060 W. Windmill Lane, free admission, RSVP online by Oct. 19 at

Lefty Before the Blast


October 18-24, 2012


tion and increased access at public schools. One recent triumph was the extension of broadband to public computing centers in Lyon County, enabling training programs for GED preparation, English as a Second Language (ESL) and computer literacy training. The Las Vegas Urban League and PBS will also be at the summit to promote their computing centers and online classes, including many involving job training and work-

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October 18-24, 2012

Music to Your Ears HERE’S THE FUNNY thing about music in public places: If it’s working the way it should, you don’t even notice it on a conscious level. There’s just an extra spring in your step or, if you’re in a casino, pep in your poke as you hit the “bet again” button on your favorite slot machine. It’s the backbeat to your night out, or day at the spa, pushing you along without getting in your face. And that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be. Allen Klevens, 39, is the founder and chief operating officer of Prescriptive Music, the company that programs the music in Vegas landmarks such as the Venetian, Palazzo, Caesars Palace and the Flamingo. A pianist since age 4, he has long allied his love for music with his career. Initially he sold high-end pianos, but in 1999 he started a company that was literally what the doctor ordered— customized CDs of music to help patients stay relaxed before and during surgery. In 2005, the Venetian’s Canyon Ranch Spa called Klevens looking for music for its spa suites—a different kind of therapeutic vibe. That prompted him to shift gears from strictly medical music to background sounds. Two years later, he won his first major account and started providing music mixes for 95 percent of North American Marriotts. Since then, he’s added several Las Vegas casinos and restaurants. Good background music, Klevens says, has to walk a fine line. “You can’t be too sleepy—you want to be upbeat—but it can’t be overpowering, either.” A casino’s first job is to decide exactly what vibe it wants—sophis-

ticated, classic, energetic, relaxed— and then let the programmers do the rest. The worst situation is where a general manager treats the casino background music as his own personal playlist. It’s all about what the players want, and in general they want something that’s familiar, though Klevens throws enough independent artists and b-sides into the typical mix to keep it interesting. Music is an art, but for Prescriptive, it’s also a marketing science. “Music is just as important to a casino as lighting,” Klevens says. “I could put on a holiday song right now, and you could see the heads turn.” One of the important touches is to split up the casino into zones: a high-limit salon will have different music than the main casino floor, and it goes without saying that songs that play well at the pool won’t always work in a gourmet restaurant. Music varies by time of day, too, with excitement building throughout the day, really pumping up after 11:30 to keep the after-dinner crowd inspired, and winding down after 3 a.m. to give club-goers a gentle come-down. It’s hard to generalize, but there are some definite do’s and don’ts: generally, music has to be mainstream and family friendly, but still have a bit of an edge. That sounds

vague, but Klevens is incredibly specific about what works. Here are three tunes that play particularly well: Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition;” the Rolling Stones’ “Start Me Up;” and Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face.” And then there are the songs you’ll never hear on a casino floor if the programmer knows what they’re doing: Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” (too explicit). Norah Jones’ “Come Away With Me” (too slow). Brian Eno’s “This” (too obscure, and the steady rhythm and repetition can actually stress out casual listeners). But casinos do have a say in what you hear. Prescriptive clients have in-depth discussions with programmers to identify exactly what kind of mix they want for each zone. The music is “broadcast” over the MUSICbox, a software system that can store and manage 10,000 tracks (no live streaming means no interruptions when Internet service gets wonky). Clients have a great deal of flexibility; technicians are available around the clock to respond to issues and even to customize the playlist on the fly. Let’s say a high-roller wants to hear Billy Joel’s “Moving Out” while he bends the cards at his baccarat table; an e-mail to Prescriptive means that he’ll be doing just that within minutes. And when Celine Dion is performing at Caesars, you’re apt to hear a lot more of her in the casino; when Elton John takes over, he gets put into heavy rotation. It’s a cliché to say that casinos leave nothing to chance, but as Klevens makes clear, there’s not a lot of gambling with the playlist. So next time you’re in a casino or restaurant and find yourself just that much happier to be there, you can be sure that’s by design. David G. Schwartz is the director of UNLV’s Center for Gaming Research.


The Organization Man


October 18-24, 2012

By D G. S

IN THE CBS version of Las Vegas in the 1960s, it’s pretty easy to know who the bad guy is: Michael Chiklis’ mobbed-up Vegas antihero struts around his casino wearing a black fedora, has federal witnesses bumped off, and tries to charm the new sheriff with free champagne. He’s smooth, cunning and completely in control. In Las Vegas circa 2012, that bad guy’s actually considered a pretty good guy. We’ve rewritten our history to suit the cinematic notion of the mobster as an action hero, a four-color study in pure, brutal power. Most of the real connected guys who settled in Vegas though, were boringly, sometimes devastatingly good at running their businesses. And they left the black fedoras and bloodlust at home. Moe Dalitz was perhaps the most influential of them all. Morris Barney Dalitz, born in 1899, came of age just as Prohibition went into effect in January 1920. He’d been helping out with his father’s Ann Arbor, Mich., laundry business, and it didn’t take him long to figure out that laundry trucks could double as rum-running wagons, speeding bootlegged liquor from over the Canadian border to Cleveland and Detroit. Known as the leader of the Mayfield Road Gang, a criminal combine that trafficked in liquor throughout the Lake Erie area, Dalitz held his own in the violent, lawless underworld of the 1920s, but he also maintained “legitimate” businesses, including his father’s and others’ laundries—not exactly the stuff they make movies about. When Prohibition ended in 1933, he moved into running illegal casinos in Ohio and Kentucky; from there, it was a natural step to take over Wilbur Clark’s stalled Desert Inn project in 1949. Nearing the age of 50, Dalitz moved to Las Vegas and, like many other former lawbreakers, became more or less legitimate. Dalitz’s relationship with Clark is the story of the Strip in microcosm. Dalitz, with cash and connections, actually ran the Desert Inn, while Clark, a

preternaturally likable fellow, pressed the flesh and smiled for the cameras. The arrangement suited both men: Clark liked “running” a casino, and Dalitz liked making money for himself and his partners. That Dalitz had such a low public profile only makes him seem that much more sinister to those who view the past through conspiracy-colored glasses. Surely he was a mob boss along the lines of Tony Soprano, commanding an army of henchmen and giving orders for guys to be whacked: evil and cunning, but with a soft heart and a fondness for his mother’s spaghetti sauce—or, in this case, rugelach. In all likelihood, it wasn’t nearly that exciting. From what we can tell, Dalitz’s biggest crime in Las Vegas was abiding the ongoing skimming

operation at the Desert Inn that directed somewhere in the range of 10 percent of the casino’s gross annual revenues to underworld figures in other cities. Strictly speaking, that’s embezzlement and fraud, and it was hardly a victimless crime: The state was denied tax revenues, and some of that money bankrolled illegal activities elsewhere in the country. But there wasn’t much bloody Hollywood glamor to the skim. Dalitz and his peers didn’t see themselves as criminals; they saw themselves as businessmen trying to make an honest living in a sometimes-dishonest profession. These were often men already in middle age; this was the business they knew, and when they came to the desert, they stayed in it. And what did it get them? On the casino floor, to be

sure, his power was immense, and his wealth allowed him a degree of prestige and influence in Las Vegas that, at first, might seem untoward for a man of his past. When he talked, people listened. The ever-popular epithet “mob boss” mischaracterizes and romanticizes Dalitz, but “shady businessman” doesn’t do him justice. He was also a legendary philanthropist and a business-and-civic visionary. He saw the Desert Inn Golf Course (which he opened in 1952) as the first step toward making Las Vegas a complete tourist destination—a process that continues today. He founded the Nevada Resort Association with the understanding that the Strip’s dueling personalities had to set aside their differences to work for their common good.

Sunrise Hospital and the Boulevard Mall are just two of the better known off-the-Strip projects that Dalitz, with his peers, got built. None of this is saying that Dalitz’s good deeds in Las Vegas should wash out his crimes here, or that his late-in-life aspirations for respectability absolve him of his violent early days, particularly since it’s likely he was still funneling cash back to Cleveland and Chicago right up until he sold the Desert Inn to Howard Hughes in 1967. But his legacy is more nuanced than today’s wave of antihero nostalgia would have it. The image of Las Vegas as created by a shadowy network of guys out of The Godfather is a powerful one. In fact, it’s a classic Western motif: Outlaw comes to town, settles down, and makes good. It’s the kind of story that affirms our faith in the civilizing power of civic life. Today, the idea of fearsome mobster as founding father is particularly reassuring to city boosters. Once casino executives stopped worrying about wiretaps and car bombs, Las Vegas started developing a weird longing for the mob. This only seems to have intensified in the past few years as the city has struggled. It might be a question of identity: Since we’re no longer America’s Favorite Boomtown, we need something to grab onto, a harder edge on the Rat Pack nostalgia that started with Swingers in 1996 and continues to this day. And it makes our own stumbles in communitybuilding easier to take. After all, the last generation had the power of the mob behind it. We mere mortals, there’s only so much we can do. That’s why it feels so much better to imagine Moe Dalitz as a mob boss—a man ruling a vast criminal underworld barely a step ahead of the law—than to imagine him as a businessman who didn’t much respect the law and perhaps never really reformed, but who also helped build Las Vegas.



How do you take risks in your home?

What would you recommend for someone who’s not a big risk-taker?

October 18-24, 2012

What are some hot trends people could do for $100?

Mike Minor

“My most prized possession is cookies and milk. I’ve never met a

Photographed by Andrew Sea James

again. When I was 1 year old I came home from being at the hospital and I had chocolate-chip cookies, and I’ve eaten them almost every night since. I’m a kid at heart, and I wanted to do something to show my personality, which is fun and lighthearted, so I even got a Cookie Monster tattoo.”


Executive chef at Border Grill in Mandalay Bay, age 39. cookie I didn’t like. It is the one thing that makes me feel like a kid

A Renaissance Up North?


October 18-24, 2012

By P MD

THERE SEEMED TO be no jewel, no glimmer of good news to push Northern Nevada out of a prolonged lethargy and into a dramatically more solid economic position. The region’s unemployment rate had hovered around 12 percent this year, and setbacks abounded in local gaming, office vacancy rates and the real estate market. But summer suddenly pushed away the succession of bad news and created new momentum for development and diversification in the greater Reno area. Information technology giant Apple announced June 26 it would open a new data-storage facility on 350 acres in the Reno Technology Park as well as a business office downtown. The data center, to open later this year east of Sparks, will bring 235 permanent jobs to the region and is the center of an expected $1 billion Apple investment in the region during the next decade. Northern Nevada first made inroads in the tech field in the 2000s, using its vast geothermal resources to attract renewable-energy startups. This summer was a welcome sequel. In addition to Apple’s entry, cybersecurity firm NJVC opened a 20,000-squarefoot data center in southeast Reno. The clothing retailer Urban Outfitters also made a big investment in the region in September by opening a

462,000-square-foot Internet fulfillment center in Stead, 11 miles from Reno. “Apple’s arrival opens the eyes of other major companies to the state and the region,” says Steve Hill, director of the state Governor’s Office of Economic Development. Hill had negotiated with the Cupertino, Calif., company since February on a venture augmenting the growth of its burgeoning App Store, iTunes and iCloud services. Apple sold 26 million iPhones alone in its third fiscal quarter ending June 30, and set a sales record when it introduced its iPhone 5 in September, garnering 2 million sales in the first 24 hours. Mehmet Tosun, an associate professor of economics at the University of Nevada, Reno, says measuring the economic impact of a potential Apple data center and its billiondollar outlay over a decade is relatively easy. “That is going to create a lot of business, and it will create sales-tax revenue,” he says. “Bringing Apple here is not just bringing in any business. It creates momentum.” And signs of this momentum abound: • Virginia-based NJVC, an IT service provider for the Department of Defense and other government contracts, also found what it needed for a data-center base in Northern Nevada. Set to ramp up full operations in October, the

firm—named to the InformationWeek 500 as one of the nation’s top business technology innovators—found value in the less-expensive industrial space and more friendly tax and regulatory environment of the Silver State. NJVC selected Reno as the center’s home because it lays on the western edge of the Department of Homeland Security’s “safe zone,” among the most stable data-center environments and free from most natural or man-made disasters. • Renewable energy is the focus of a trash-to-fuel proj-

ect to open in Storey County, about 20 miles east of Reno. The U.S. Department of Agriculture pledged a $105 million loan guarantee to Fulcrum BioEnergy for a facility that will convert 2,000 tons of municipal waste into 10 million gallons of ethanol yearly. At its 2014 completion, the plant at the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center will process trash and make it into ethanol. The three-year project is slated to employ 430 people for construction and 53 workers to operate production. Hill views the plant and

Fulcrum’s investment of about $170 million in the facility as another novel idea in economic development, helping to defuse negative perceptions that resulted from a 2011 Forbes magazine ranking of best places for businesses and careers that listed Reno 179th out of 200 cities. • The Urban Outfitters plant north of Reno is expected to handle 30 percent of the company’s Internet business. The center, featuring a $25 million merchandise-handling system, will employ 120 people by the holidays. It furthers the

not in the works. *** Northern Nevada’s advantages in site selection for information-technology operations include its proximity to the San Francisco Bay area and Interstate 80, along with its ability to support the electricity needs of large-scale data centers. Apple’s electricity usage is equivalent to 15 megawatt hours per employee—that’s a tall order, but Reno is well-equipped to handle it. “The Reno Technology Park has direct access to existing high-voltage infrastructure,”

says Steve Polikalas, a partner in Unique Infrastructure Group who has negotiated the park’s development. The Tracy power plant just across Interstate 80 has 345-kilovolt transmission lines available. And two large natural gas lines run right through the park. The list of advantages goes on: Northern Nevada’s temperate nights and low humidity make it much more efficient to cool a data center. The area offers easy access to multiple fiber-optics lines. Companies can transfer data quickly, for example, to the growing mar-

Apple to the region. Washoe County offered the company an 85 percent reduction on its property tax for 10 years, a savings of nearly $17 million. Reno offered a 75 percent reduction in sales tax. The county’s school district pitched in by waiving the sales-tax reimbursements it would have netted through the deal. “In the short term, you’re giving away a lot to bring them here,” Tosun says of the Apple deal. “That’s a short-term negative. But the policymakers believe the long-term positives are going to outweigh the short-term negatives. We wouldn’t have been able to bring Apple in if we hadn’t [made those commitments].” Continued regional investment from Apple will attract the interest of similar companies, Hill says, and further boost the perception of Northern Nevada among corporate site-selection firms. “Other companies are calling and considering Nevada,” Hill says. “I’m not saying Northern Nevada is going to become the next Silicon Valley, but it will help the whole tech industry in Northern California to consider Nevada for expansion.”


region’s reputation as a base for large distribution centers, with Amazon, Walmart, eBay and having moved here. More than 200 construction workers built the Urban Outfitters center. Despite the string of recent successes, Northern Nevada has the occasional fisherman’s tale about “the one that got away.” Coach, the luxury handbag designer and retailer, was slotted as another firm that might relocate a distribution center to Reno. But a corporate spokeswoman said in August that move is

kets of the Far East. “Our location at the technology park would afford tremendous latency—that’s the speed at which data can be transmitted,” Polikalas says. “The closer to real time you are [in transmission], the greater the value for consumers of that data. It’s in nanoseconds and milliseconds.” Half of the technology park— a 2,200-acre space founded in 2009—will be dedicated to data centers, Tosun says. The rest will be used for renewable energy enterprises. Renewables are important for the Apple center—the firm has made considerable use of them in the Maiden, N.C., facility it opened in 2011—and the park will have plenty to offer. According to a 2010 Data Center Knowledge report, the park will have transmission lines that generate up to 100 megawatts of wind power (a megawatt powers roughly 700 homes for a year), a potential 20 megawatts of geothermal energy from an accessible water source, and solar power from at least a 20-megawatt photovoltaic operation. *** Tax-abatement strategy was another key factor in luring

October 18-24, 2012



we’re taking ourselves to court, telling our tales of transgression, and pleading guilty. As Joe Donnelly, Greg Blake Miller and Maile Chapman, confess, there’s a little larceny in every soul. But don’t tell our fourth storyteller, H. Lee Barnes—he WAS the law. *

*Need more true stories from scofflaws? At Vegas Seven’s storytelling event, The Tell, six more storytellers hold court in the very room where the famed Kefauver Committee grilled the underworld in 1950. (Today you know the place as the second floor of the Mob Museum.) The live event on Oct. 18 is sold out, but we’ll have conclusive video evidence Oct. 24 at

roam under the big skies of the big country you’d come down from. Here, you are just another subject of the realm. But you decide not right now. You’ve waited too long for this. It occurs to you to let just enough air out of the tire to loosen up the boot’s grip. Then you raise your leg up and bring it down again in one last fire-breathing stomp. The boot clangs and falls slack to the cement. You toss it in the back of the truck, rip the sticker off the windshield and tell L__ to hop in. Stars and hearts and exclamation points shoot from her eyes.

You fill the tire back up at a gas station and drive up the coast for dinner. Fireworks when you kiss good night. Adoring messages on your answering machine when you return from dropping her off at the airport where she catches a flight to New Orleans. Jazzfest or something.

During the next week, a lawyer friend will negotiate for you to surrender the boot, pay $2,000 worth of tickets and not go to jail. L___ will meet her real husband at Jazzfest. And you will register your vehicle in California and start paying your parking tickets. More or less.

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stomp down in one quick, violent burst. The contraption explodes off the tire and collapses to the ground in surprised defeat. You leave the boot in the lot, limp and grotesque. It happens again—the puny mortal, the truck tire, the damn boot—and you smash it again. When it happens to a friend, you stomp the boot off his car. In one lot, the proprietor of a ritzy hotel boots your truck and, furious, you stomp it off and walk it into the lobby and hand it to the concierge like it’s a piece of his trash that had blown into your yard. Your reputation grows. Fire-breathing boot stomper. One morning you wake to find both your truck and your new girlfriend’s car booted. You stomp the boot off her car and then yours, leave them curbside, alone. Time to roll. Your time. Things are different there in the small-town mountains. Everybody knows your name. Roadside sobriety tests (passed!), drunk-anddisorderlies, possession and public displays—local cops mostly chuckle at your shenanigans. But that was then, and now you are sober and living in L.A. and you’ve just written a novel about the dragon days and it’s all gonna be OK. Then, out of the blue, you get a call from L___. She’s been with some new guy for a couple of years. She’s going to get married. Either that or she’s gonna split. It’s 50/50. She loves him, but she might not be in love with him. It doesn’t surprise you. She was born too lucky, the kind that burns up all the fuel and moves on, never satisfied. You knew that from the beginning, you just wanted to play with the flame. And now, L___ is on the phone and she wants you to

You size up the boot. It seems more formidable and menacing than the ones you’d gotten used to dismissing in the mountains. It appears to have no weakness, and it’s got your tire in a death grip. Now what? L__ looks as if something pernicious is about to pop the bubble you’ve been in all day. You suspect it’s just you, and that this boot is a sullen reminder of who you really are, not a legend at all. Dragons don’t live here in this tight city; they


YOU ARE A YOUNG MAN attending journalism school at Berkeley, and you develop a serious crush on L___, who is skinny and has white teeth, honey hair and a winsome smile that seems born of the California you’ve been dreaming about after several long winters in the Rocky Mountains. Only problem: L___ is seriously serious with your new best friend at J-school, B___. So, you keep your crush a secret and bask in the sunshine of L__’s presence when the three of you go out capering around the streets of San Francisco. You feel lucky just being around these two epitomes of smart, sexy California cool. Too soon, you graduate, life takes over, and you do some time at big newspapers in big cities. You’re on the brink, and L___ and B___ are in the rearview. But right when you think you’ve opened up all the right doors, they start closing just as fast. Then, your girlfriend dumps you and you land back in Colorado, back where you were before J-school and L___ and B__ and all that. You wonder how you traveled so far to get nowhere: no L__, no fame, no big career. You are angry and you take to your old stomping grounds like a dragon, breathing fire onto everything in your path. You live like a myth. You park where your pickup truck stops. You don’t read signs or follow rules. That’s for the others. One late night, you pour out of a bar only to find some puny mortal had put a boot on your truck’s tire—an affront that needs to be remedied. In your drunkenness, you see the physics clearly— the angles, the necessary force. You raise your leg and

help her play an April Fool’s trick on her friend at work, act like you can’t accept L___’s engagement. Say L___ deserves better, say L___ deserves you and you’ve always loved her, etc. You weren’t exactly pining for L___ the past four years. She was a mirage you’d driven by. But here she is on the phone and it’s funny how easy it is to go back in time. She sounds the same, honeyvoiced and cruel. California is such a tease. It’s got everything you want and nothing you need. You agree to play along. You tell L___’s friend about how you’re going to fly up there and rescue L___ and all that shit. You sell it so well her friend refuses to believe it’s an April Fool’s joke, even though it’s April 1. When L___ asks you what you said to her friend, you reply, “the truth.” Soon after, L___ is on her way down to L.A. You’re going on your first date after all these years. Everything’s different … sort of. You may be sober, but you still have your pickup truck and it still has Colorado plates and you’re still a scofflaw, with a pile of parking tickets on the floor that were surely meant for someone else. The date begins with a hike in the Hollywood Hills. Greasy-spoon breakfast follows. It’s as tingly as you’d hoped it would be. You move on to a beachside dive for some afternoon beers (hers) and a few games of pool (L__ fashions herself a sharp, but you beat her). A slight wisp of dragon’s smoke sneaks from your nostrils. Then, you come out of the bar and it’s there on the rear, driver’s side tire. It isn’t just a boot. There is also a big, orange sticker on the window warning that tampering with the device is serious business and punishable by large fines and possible jail time.

the office on Truth Street, across the tenement badlands around Savelovsky metro, toward the train home. Each night I stopped at a tiny kiosk to buy a bottle of a mintygreen herbal soft drink called Tarkhun. I was addicted to Tarkhun. It tasted of a cough syrup from my childhood. That night, as I waited for the sleepy-eyed attendant—a man so old his skin was translucent—to count my rubles, two large young men with rasping coughs waited behind me. Their chests were touching my back. This I disliked, but I had come to accept it. In Moscow, in those days, this was how one waited in line. An extra inch was daylight for a line-hopper. The old man counted and counted; I had, it seemed, been paid in very small bills. In the mid-1990s it took a lot of very small bills to buy a bottle of Tarkhun. The old man stopped counting and looked at me, full of sorrow for the generation of idiots that had been thrust upon him. “There’s not enough here,” he said. “Don’t you have five hundred more?” I reached in my pocket, found a crumpled wad. The big chest behind me pressed forward. I uncrumpled the wad. A big hand settled on my shoulder. I liberated a thousand from the wad. The big hand squeezed. I took my Tarkhun, the old man reached for the money, the hand on my shoulder shoved me aside. I spun and shoved back and threw off my backpack, and the world had

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Belltown was still a dump. I had worn it up and down the history-tattered streets of Moscow. I had worn it this very day into the laboratories of soil chemists who patiently explained to me, the foreign reporter with strangely local concerns, everything I wanted to know about lead and how it found its way into the air and into the dirt and into the children. Westerners—correspondents, writers, lawyers, souls adventurous enough to come here but overflowing with educated-middle-class anxieties—had been saying the Moscow dirt was unsafe for their children. My Muscovite scientists were eager to dispel this notion. They were watching the Westerners, too. They were somewhat amused with what they saw. That day, they saw my leather jacket, bought in Belltown but looking for all the world like something passed down from a Bolshevik great-grandfather, and they trusted me as one of their own. There are few better feelings for a foreigner. My hair was thick, almost shoulder length swept back on top and pouring back over my temples. Some of the men in the statues had hair like this. I had not shaved for three days. I was 26, with the codified morality of an old monk and the roiling romantic grandiosity of an American adolescent. I lived those days like an A-minor chord, urgent, troubled, combustible. I worked until after midnight each night at the newspaper, wearily made my way from

I was lucky, that I’d gotten off cheaply. But I also felt good and righteous and my trinity was singing the Boss: I had skin like leather and the diamond-hard look of a cobra ... When they said sit down I stood up ... Walk tall, or baby don’t walk at all. My hair was a mess, my shirt untucked, my face wrinkled in a Mickey Rourke sneer; I was a student of this country, an admirer, a lover, and I was at war with it. I was nearly to the top of the Revolution Square escalator when I saw the soldier waiting. At the top, he took me by the right arm; another soldier materialized and took me by the left. They walked me into a small, white room. They asked me who I was, where I had been. I told them I had been at work, and that after work I had bought a Tarkhun. They asked for my passport and disappeared. The door was locked. I felt glorious. Either my life had gone terribly wrong, or this was living. Living. I decided I was alive. Ten minutes passed, then 20. I had some growing up to do. But I was alive. Thirty minutes. Perhaps I was headed for Butyrka prison, where our newspaper’s intrepid photographer had recently photographed inmates left naked, emaciated, pissing on the concrete. I thought about Lyubyanka, where Stalin had kept his enemies while they awaited the bullet in the back of the head. I thought about my hero, the diplomat George Kennan. I thought about writing. I thought about Tarkhun. I still had it with me, there in the white room. I took a sip. The soldiers came back. “We are looking for a Chechen,” one said. He handed me my American passport and opened the door. “We apologize for the inconvenience.” “Thank you,” I said.


I WAS BEING WATCHED. I could feel it in the way a foreigner feels things in a foreign land, in a dreamlike way, with more unconsciousness than consciousness, a knowing much more akin to not knowing. Not knowing is the most beautiful and terrifying thing about being far from home. In precisely the circumstance where your instincts—uninformed, full of rank misinterpretations of simple social signals—are most likely to be wrong, you must trust them most. They are all you’ve got, and at the moment what I had was the sense of being watched. The old lady with the tattered plastic bag that said “Beautiful You” was watching me. The smiling, partially torn blonde pictured on the bag, striding in an outdated pantsuit, was watching me. The Kazakh shuttle merchant with his wheelbarrow of burlap sacks was watching. The decades were watching—a statue of a crouching man with a German shepherd, a bronze girl with a baby on her shoulder. The dog’s nose was golden from the touch of Muscovite hands. It was said to be good luck. I did not touch the dog; one must be careful with watchful dogs. The escalator out of the Revolution Square metro station goes up forever. One feels like Aeneas leaving the dead, the watchful dead, behind. I was wearing a slab of a leather jacket. I had purchased it, as one did in those days, in a secondhand store in Seattle’s Belltown, when

made me 13 years old again. The bully and his bully buddy stood four feet from me, grinning with the prospect of battle. I rushed the big man, collided, found myself in a headlock. Tighter, tighter, blood to my temples, blood to my eyes, blood pooling within me, gathering, ready, exploding— I threw the big man off of me. My plastic bottle of green cough-syrup soda pop went skittering across the cement. I had held onto the damn thing through the whole struggle. There were two squares of pockmarked sidewalk between the big man and me. The old monk and the crazed teen within me were in complete accord with the third member of my interior trinity, the voice of Bruce Springsteen. No retreat. No surrender. Davai, I said. Come on. The big man’s big friend looked at him and said the same word: Davai. But in his case, it meant: Let’s go. And beneath that, unspoken: He’s not worth it. I wasn’t worth it. The big men walked away. It was probably good for me that I wasn’t worth it. In the moment, though, I felt like Menelaus when Paris is whisked away by the gods. I stayed on the field of battle a moment longer, then picked up my Tarkhun and walked to the train. The longer I rode, the more I felt the eyes of Moscow upon me. I felt strange judgment from their Muscovite heads: There goes a dead man. Another foreign corpse. I had read plenty of stories of men, foreign or not, winding up with their heads bashed in at midnight over far less than taking too long in the softdrink queue. I understood that

supposed to prevent contractors from dumping appliances en masse. My boyfriend, using all of his charm, convinced the attendant to accept the fridge despite the insufficient ID he had with him. It took most of a Saturday afternoon to resolve, but at last the apartment was practically empty. “Including the attic?” the friend said the next morning. Neither of us had ever been up to the attic, where apparently each tenant had a private, locked storage space that opened with the apartment

And even if tandem drop-offs could be arranged for Monday morning, my boyfriend had already shown his ID for the first refrigerator; two more would certainly put him over the legal limit. We couldn’t leave them outside with the trash because they had to be recycled. If we attempted

ciled out to a thousand euros in lost deposit money. This was apparently legal on paper, but of course it didn’t seem right, after all that cleaning and repair work. At least we had the small satisfaction of leaving those two behemoths in the attic: not legal, but certainly fair.

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a roommate to the official renter, who no longer lived there but around the corner. This shuffling wasn’t uncommon among expats, but it was necessary, because renting an apartment required a perfect paper trail and a staggeringly large security deposit, as well as binding employment contracts and financial assurances. My name wasn’t even on the mailbox, since it wasn’t legal for me to get mail there. I kept the TV volume down and the curtains closed to avoid a conversation with the TV inspector. I never answered the door, and I followed the rules about not running water, or even flushing the toilet, after 10:30 at night. All things considered, we had very little trouble. Until it was time to move out. The apartment had to be left completely empty, and we complied: no light bulbs in the fixtures, no toilet paper in the bathroom, no rod for the shower curtain, no plug for the kitchen sink. There was veneer paneling in the kitchen; my boyfriend hadn’t installed it, but somebody had at some point, and now it had to go. The walls had to be repainted. The wood floor had to be sanded. We did it all. And then, late in the process, the friend in whose name the place was rented looked in. “What about the refrigerator?” she asked. Getting rid of a perfectly good refrigerator in Germany wasn’t as easy as leaving it out on the curb after dark. By law, it had to be taken to a recycling facility. This one was small, but it weighed as much as a GMC

to blatantly abandon them on the curb in desperation, every neighbor in the building would know who was responsible, and there went the enormous deposit. Nobody we knew needed a fridge, much less two; we’d tried to give away the first one, and these were most likely broken anyway. The only reasonable option was to gently close the door to the storage area, slip quietly back down the stairs, and feign ignorance. Amazingly, it worked—but only because there were other distracting snags in the end, like pinholes, scuff marks, minor details that somehow pen-


IN GERMANY, RENTERS HAVE certain responsibilities. When I lived in Hamburg a decade ago, for instance, renters typically had to clean the landing, hall or stairway nearest their door in any shared building—a duty my boyfriend and I were reminded of by pointed looks from neighbors during snow or rain. It wasn’t a fair system; we lived on the ground floor in a heavily trafficked area right by the front entrance, so we were expected to mop much more often than tenants on any of the six floors above. But everyone who entered the building could see immediately whether we’d followed the rule or not, and so we followed it. Just never on a Sunday. We couldn’t mop publicly on a Sunday. Nor could we do laundry, since the electricity in the laundry room cut out at midnight, locking the machines until dawn. (Washing clothes by hand was fine, provided you didn’t hang anything to dry where neighbors would see it and report you as a nuisance.) Stores, even supermarkets, were closed. The gym we used was closed. Like it or not, Sunday was a day of rest. I was careful on Sundays especially, but every other day, too, because I wasn’t registered to live in my boyfriend’s apartment. I was a legal resident with a visa and a work permit, but the address on file for me was that of a friend of a friend. And although my boyfriend had been living in his apartment for years already, it technically wasn’t his apartment: On paper, he was just

truck, and we wrestled it out and down the front steps with difficulty. The cab driver tried to flee, but my boyfriend convinced him to let us shift it into his trunk. At the recycling center we discovered certain papers were needed, because there were rules about how many refrigerators you could surrender in a given time period. This was

key. My boyfriend made a cursory, last-minute visit: Inside were two more refrigerators, hulking in the shadows, even older and heavier than the one we’d just gotten rid of. Two refrigerators? Who could have left them there? How on earth did they haul them up all those stairs? And why? There was no time to overthink it. Our options were too limited. We could wrestle those heavy, awkward appliances painfully down six flights of stairs, one at a time, during the quiet of a Sunday, attracting the attention of every neighbor along the way. But then what? The recycling center was closed.

Flamingo was two lanes back then, and oncoming cars didn’t always yield. The rush of wind on the hood of the car sharpened my senses to a pitch that only combat can excite. The Road Runner spun out just east of Pecos Road, I continued the pursuit on foot after two of the suspects. They ran toward a house under construction some 200 yards away. I caught one as he climbed over a block fence. The other also tried to climb, but didn’t have the strength to make it. I cuffed him and climbed over after the other. He lay on the ground, panting. I grabbed him by his pants and collar, lifted him atop the block wall and dumped him back on the other side just as Deputy Augie Knudson arrived from an adjacent patrol area. The third suspect knocked on the door of an off-duty deputy. Eddie Pitchford, a recently promoted detective, opened the door. The suspect asked him to call a cab, saying that his car had broken down. Eddie handcuffed the bad-luck guy and called for a patrol car. Instead of eating warmed-up leftovers from Christmas dinner at my in-laws’, I recorded the serial numbers of the stolen bills, writing them down by hand, some $2,400 in mostly ones and fives. I got home a little past 1 a.m after a 16-hour shift with no overtime pay. The arrest made Page 2 of Section B in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. I’ve got the yellow clipping somewhere. What it doesn’t say is that the bandits got probation, mostly, I suspect, because the judge and the defense at-

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on the Strip craning my neck and looking for bad guys. Other times I’m a detective or narcotics agent handcuffing a suspect. I wake up and I understand that some things can never be put to sleep. I was once a cop. I am always a cop. ••• When I resigned from the sheriff’s office, I was a freshly minted sergeant. I quit because I’d been on the graveyard complaint desk for five months, answering phones and screening out nuisance calls from the important ones. I supervised a capable dispatcher and an equally capable PBX operator, who for whatever reasons couldn’t get along with one another. During those eight-hour shifts I longed to be in a patrol car or a detective working a case. My immediate boss, Lt. Roy Steindorf, regularly woke me up after about three hours of sleep demanding that I explain some conflict or other between the dispatcher and the operator. One morning I couldn’t go back to sleep. After hours of tossing about, I climbed out of bed, went to the kitchen table and scratched out a resignation. That done, I slept. It was a hasty decision, and sad. I loved being a cop, loved those moments that tested me, such as the high-speed pursuit on Christmas Day 1968 down Flamingo Road from the Paradise intersection to Pecos Road—90, 100, 105—in the rain, the roadway slick, wheels barely touching asphalt. I was chasing a white Plymouth Road Runner with three suspects;

had to let my hunch go. Near the end of the shift, I was sent to the Rivera to investigate an attempt to use a stolen credit card. All I had to do was take a report and let the detectives handle it. Routine. Instead, I ran the name on the card. The card’s owner was a Los Angeles woman, but Fury had signed his name and shown the clerk his driver’s license. I traced him to the Frontier on the opposite side of the Strip, where I checked the room registration. The room was occupied by two men who’d listed their car as a Jaguar XKE with California tags, the very XKE I’d seen earlier. The plate came back in the name of the woman whose credit card was in question. And there was a hold on the occupants of the car because they were wanted for murder. Two security guards and I went up to the room. Using a key, we opened the door and rushed in. I took Michael James Fury down as he headed to the bed where he’d stashed a pistol under the mattress. His partner in crime, having seen me enter the casino, had taken off in the XKE and was later apprehended, armed of course. In the end, Fury turned state’s evidence and testified against his partner, who was the actual murderer. Case closed. How can I explain what alerted me that day when the two of them drove in the opposite lane on the Strip? A furtive look? A fleeting recognition? JDLR. ••• Every old cop has a similar tale. Cop radar. You can’t take it to court. You can’t convince anyone it even exists, this the third eye of the law. In those dreams I have where I’m a cop again, I no longer have it. Some young cops out patrolling the streets know what I’m talking about. They recognize when something Just Don’t Look Right, but now they need probable cause or a traffic violation to pull a car over. They’re better paid these days and, unlike those of us who served under Lamb, they can wear goatees and moustaches. But I really wouldn’t want to be them. I doubt being the law is as fun as it was back in the days when Gramby Hanley could be stopped and found in contempt of cop—that long-ago time when we operated without camera phones and attorneys screaming police harassment. Those were the days when the bad guys knew not to mess with the law.


MUCH OF THE FUN CAME after the shift, meeting in the dirt lot next to the downtown Las Vegas First National Bank across from the courthouse. One or more of us would make a beer run to the Shopping Bag grocery store, which is long since gone. We’d pop the lids, take a sip or two and tell stories. I was young and just in the process of building up my own catalog of war stories, so mostly I listened and laughed. Those after-shift meetings in the late 1960s rounded the sharp edges off the day. It was the Ralph Lamb era, the age of cowboys and mobsters that’s now been polished up for TV, but our stories weren’t the stuff of television. It was poor form to tell a story centered on your courage or toughness. That was boasting and an insult to your audience. Stories were often about bungled moments—the stupid burglar who used his own credit card to break into a motel room and left it behind, the detective who opened his badge case to identify himself and spilled a half dozen business cards on the floor, the lieutenant in charge of records who slammed his finger in a filing cabinet, and seeing his own blood, fainted. Human stuff. We’ve heard the expression, “Once a cop, always a cop.” I like to think that when I gave up the badge and handcuffs, I moved on with life, becoming a private detective, then a casino dealer, a part-time martial-arts instructor, and now a college professor and writer. But three decades later I still wake up from dreams in which I’m in a patrol car

torney were once law partners. ••• Out on the streets we had our own form of justice. We were cowboys, playing John Wayneagainst-the-assholes. It was serious play. We knew who many of the bad guys were. When we spotted a guy like Gramby Hanley—who was later convicted for the murder of Al Bramlet, the secretary-treasurer of the Culinary Workers Union—we’d pull him over and have a chat. “Assume the position on the hood of the car.” He’d pitch a fit. “It’s a roust,” he’d say. “I didn’t do anything.” “We’re making sure of that.” A half-hour later we’d hand him his license and tell him to drive carefully. The law can’t just grab a Gramby Hanley anymore. There are no more vagrancy statutes to employ, there are too many cameras, too many civilrights attorneys. Maybe it’s better this way, but society doesn’t seem any better for it. ••• I miss being the law. Who can explain the way you feel after weeks of an investigation when you catch the burglars, one 17, one 19, who hit Rebel Britches, a jeans store that was once in the shopping center at Maryland Parkway and Twain? We recovered dozens of pairs of jeans from the attic at the 19-year-old’s house. In the midst of the arrest, the dad, a showroom musician, walked in and told me if I ever touched his boy again, he was going to shoot me. That sounded more like a challenge than a threat. Some weeks later when an indictment naming the son for selling heroin was issued, I requested the privilege of serving the warrant. When I pulled up to the house, the father was working in his yard. I told him my purpose and said, “Time to get that gun.” Instead of going for a weapon, he walked me inside and told his son to cooperate. A father’s love has limitations. ••• Something in your perception shifts when you become a cop, some odd sixth sense takes hold of you. We had an expression for it: JDLR, “Just Don’t Look Right.” No court of law would endorse it as probable cause, but it was a real thing. This was especially true the day I arrested a fugitive named Michael James Fury. Early in my shift, I spotted him and a cohort driving on the northbound lane of Las Vegas Boulevard in a green Jaguar XKE. I didn’t know who he was, but something wasn’t right. JDLR. I made a U-turn at Flamingo Road, ready to pursue them, but the dispatcher called and sent me off elsewhere, and I

“Swedish House Mafia was never planned... It got to a point where it became this big monster machine.”


Your city after dark, hot gossip, party pics and the nightclub that just won’t die THU 18

SUN 21 4

Clubbing has gone to the dogs. And we don’t mean “dawgs,” as in your boys, homies, bros, etc. Marquee Dayclub transforms into Barquee to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Noah’s Animal House. Complimentary margaritas will be available for humans, while a doggie open bar offers treats and refreshments for puppies. Dogs must be 25 pounds or less, and a leash is required. For more information, e-mail (At the Cosmopolitan, 6-8 p.m., MarqueeLasVegas. com.) If your pooch is up for a pup crawl (see what we did there?), the next installment of the monthly Yappy Hour at Rumor gets into the spirit with its Howl-oWeen Spooktacular and a doggie costume contest, as well as a fundraiser for the Animal Foundation. (455 E. Harmon Ave., 6-9 p.m., Your homework assignment before heading out tonight: Google “Quasar” by Hard Rock Sofa. Pretty banging, right? Now imagine the energy that track will create on the dance floor! The Russian duo headlines at Surrender. (In Encore, 10:30 p.m.,


FRI 19

Just when the piñata withdrawal became almost too much to bear and we were plotting the best way to crash the neighbor kid’s quinceañera, GBDC (1) (Ghostbar Dayclub) returns. But this isn’t any ol’ daytime soirée. The second season promises even more piñata poppin’, confetti explodin’, champagne spillin’, cryo blastin’, sunglass wearin’, 40-ounce brown-baggin’, costume rockin’ (yes, you’re encouraged to participate) and all the dancing you can stand. (In the Palms, 1 p.m., Have you checked out the 2012 America’s Best DJ winner Markus Schulz’s new album Scream yet? One of the tracks is the ethereal “Love Rain Down” featuring vocalist Seri (2). She’ll be stopping by to perform at Krave. (In the Miracle Mile Shops, 10:30 p.m.,

Hmm, so apparently DJ Cheapshot earned his moniker after he suckerpunched the midwife as a newborn. Guess that means the beats will be hard! Catch him spinning at the next installment of Magnum Mondays at STK. (In the Cosmopolitan, 9 p.m.,

TUE 23


Happy birthday to DJ Lema (4), Vegas’ Best Resident DJ (as named in our Best of the City issue)! He’ll be celebrating at Lavo, so expect a plethora of champagne showers, a snazzy cake, confetti, signs spelling out his name being held by scantly clad cocktail servers—oh, whoops. Did we give away the surprise? C’mon, we know the drill. Yo, Lema—we’ll stock up on Pedialyte and NoHo for ya so Wednesday isn’t as rough. (In the Palazzo, 11 p.m.,

WED 24 Calling all stylish ladies and gentlemen: Every Wednesday, Lily highlights a rotating roster of designers for the Fashionista Social Club. For this installment Alfred Dunhill, the British luxury brand for men, will set the tone. Hey, if Jude Law is a spokesman and James Bond rocks the accessories, you know it’s gotta be cool and sexy. (In Bellagio, 8 p.m.,

October 18-24, 2012

SAT 20


MON 22


Seven Nights is usually lighthearted, but we’d like to take a moment to acknowledge a loss to the scene, DJ Ben LaVee. An official Monster Energy DJ and frequent face at Tao and Lavo, LaVee died in August, leaving behind a wife and two children. Monster and the Hard Rock Hotel have teamed up for a charity poker tournament in his honor. E-mail for details. (9 p.m.-midnight.) Life is Good for Nas these days. His latest album is a smash success, and he’ll be stopping by for an appearance at Tao to celebrate … Maybe he’ll even bring ex-wife Kelis’ now infamous abandoned wedding dress from the cover as his date. (In the Venetian, 10 p.m., Did Big Boi say what we think he said on his latest “She Said OK”?! (Pause for a quick Internet search.) Oh, wow, yup, yup he did. We’re probably not allowed to print the lyrics, so if you want to hear for yourself those envelopepushing rhymes, catch him live at The Bank. (In Bellagio, 10:30 p.m.,

Whatever you do, don’t call the music of Wolfgang Gartner (3) “complextro.” Yes, we know it says so on his Wikipedia page, but y’all have to stop using that as a reliable reference. Don’t believe us? We got the down low on his hatred of the term that’s been used to label his tunes and more before his next gig at XS. Read all about it at (In Encore, 10:30 p.m., We keep joking that we’re gonna run away and join the circus, but haven’t quite mastered the high wire yet. To hold us over, we’ll hit up the return of XIV Vegas Sessions at Hyde for a Neon Circus party. Don your brightest attire as the venue channels the big top with exotic animals, trapeze artists and (eek!) clowns. Nathan Scott provides the tunes, and the party’s creator Mio Danilovic serves as ringmaster for his birthday. (In Bellagio, 5 p.m.,


October 18-24, 2012

Wynn May Be Losing DJ Hold The Wynn nightclubs have had something like 80 percent of the world’s DJ population on lockdown through 2012, leading to such widespread, unforeseen changes in the nightlife ecosystem as overgrazing, soil erosion and remix depletion. Now, according to published reports, Calvin Harris and Deadmau5 may be chafing under their exclusive residencies and looking to move onto greener, less-tied-down pastures. (Which are also subject to overgrazing. Step up your habitat-conservation game, DJs.) An unnamed “club insider” tells the New York Post’s “Page Six” that some jocks are angling to get out of their contracts so they wouldn’t have to be exclusive to any one Las Vegas venue. And waiting with open arms and turntables is, apparently, Angel Management Group’s Hakkasan, which is scheduled to open at MGM Grand in the spring.

If it’s true, it might, in theory, spell the beginning of the end for the big-time club resident DJ. If an increasing number of the top names start spinning up and down the Strip for the highest bidder, it could lead to a free-for-all. Considering a guy like Tiësto already averages $250,000 a night, that’s not unimpressive. It makes sense, too, for the top names in the game to drive up prices while the demand is still there. It’s just that it’s a bit of a gamble—if the EDM bubble bursts suddenly, like if, say, Psy ushers in a wave of K-Pop mania or something—these guys could find themselves wishing they had a guaranteed payday. On the one hand, it doesn’t seem like that could happen within the next year or anything. On the other hand, we just saw a Steve Angello baseball cap for sale at a local Walmart. So, EDM is still cool, right?


Sofia Toufa—the “Sofi” in “Sofi Needs a Ladder”—hit the stage Oct. 13 at Rain with a built-in fan base. That being Tommy Lee and 15 of Tommy Lee’s friends. The Mötley Crüe drummer and the German-born Toufa have been dating for more than two years. Because you’d need someone—anyone—to look at on tour who wasn’t Mick Mars or Nikki Sixx. We do, though, assume this means that Toufa will be dating Kid Rock sometime in 2015.

Jason Scavone is editor of Follow him on the Las Vegas gossip trail at

Wild Youth By D R

“DO WHATEVER YOU want, whatever makes you happy.” That was the advice given to 12-year-old Steven Angello Josefsson Fragogiannis by his mother when he proclaimed he wanted to become a DJ. It certainly seems to have worked out well. Better known to millions of electronic dance music fans as Steve Angello (as well as one-third of super-group Swedish House Mafia), the Greek-born, Stockholm-bred superstar DJ/producer opens up about changing his sound and the SHM breakup before he continues his residency reign Oct. 27 at XS.


October 18-24, 2012

A little birdie told me you might be starting to focus more on making and playing tech house. Is that true? [Laughs.] I know birds like to talk like that. I feel I’ve always been a guy who plays after-hours and afterparties and when I do that, I tend to play tech house. I’ve been enjoying it more lately because all the regular shows are becoming so big, so you want to go back to the dirty clubs and just go a little dirty sometimes. So to some extent, yes, I’ll focus more on doing after-parties after every big show. That’s where the tech house comes in. With your Size Records label, you’ve probably come across some great lesser-known producers. If you had to put together a lineup of artists whose tracks you’ve signed, but may not be as familiar to the public, who would you throw on a bill? Trent Cantrelle from the West Coast is amazing! I’ve signed tech house [tracks] from him for the label. There’s Nari & Milani that I have releases from on Size. They’re an amazing duo from Italy. I come across a lot of great artists; sometimes I wish I could clone myself so I could take care of all of them. I’m trying as much as I can, and we’re expanding the team, so there are gonna be a lot of good and big signings from us in the future for sure. You created the catchy track “Greyhound” alongside Sebastian Ingrosso and Axwell as Swedish House Mafia for an Absolut vodka campaign. It’s actually in

heavy rotation in the Las Vegas clubs. What came first, the track or the commercial pitch? They work hand in hand. We started out with the track, and then we got into the whole commercial. We had to choose from five directors. We have a meeting, we see a pitch, they listen to the music … we just play ping-pong with ideas. It’s a different formula than when it is just a record and music video. Is the emotion of the track affected (or even absent) when working on something for advertising purposes? We didn’t think about it as advertising. We worked [based on] this guy’s creative CGIs. And he went all fucking wild on these animated dogs and stuff. We didn’t even think about that it would be Absolut. In the back of our heads, when we grew up Absolut was a super-creative company, and they still are. We got free creative control with the director. That helped a lot because if you just give me an ad and just see the commercial, I would go, “Well, I can’t really write something to this.” So, it was a little short movie with us and some animated dogs and a desert. It was pretty cool for us. Speaking of SHM, the first time we chatted was before your trio’s Las Vegas debut in June 2010. Now SHM has come full circle, and the group is disbanding. Is this simply an indefinite hiatus or permanent? We’ve had an amazing run. We’ve done a lot of things

together, and we’ve accomplished a lot of goals. We’ve come a very, very long way. Swedish House Mafia was never planned. It was something that just happened. It got to a point where it became this big monster machine— and we just wanna have a good time. So we felt that we’ve done so much amazing stuff together that we could call it a day. I mean, we’re still us, we’re still here, it’s still us three individuals. Do you think we’ll see a solo

artist album from you in the next year or so? I’m working on one now. It’s gonna be called Wild Youth. Let’s talk tattoos: What is the quote you have inked, and do you have any others with special meaning? I have one quote that says, “I chose life and life chose me.

That’s why I love my life and my life loves me.” I wrote that, and it’s the purpose of life for me. You don’t live to work, you work to live. You should just embrace life and have a good time. Focus on what you like and not on what you dislike. Life is not a mystery. Life is pretty simple. You just gotta take it upon yourself to enjoy yourself.

Angello explains why he doesn’t wear headphones and answers allegations that he doesn’t “really” DJ anymore at


‘No Requests’


October 18-24, 2012

By D R

DRIVING AROUND LAS VEGAS, you’ve possibly noticed the bold black billboards for LAX, advertising resident headliner Gusto. But we wanted to get to know a bit more about the 31-year-old San Francisco-born, L.A.bred Gustavo Mejia, who now calls Las Vegas home. Thanks to his S.K.A.M. Artist management company, Gusto juggles a busy schedule of gigs that typically includes LAX on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays; Pure on Thursdays, plus Wet Republic and Venus during pool season. And Gusto still manages to churn out original productions for Robbie Rivera’s Juicy Music label and recently joined the iHeartRadio team. What was it like to see your face on billboards for your residency? That caught me by surprise. I was heading into work and I saw this billboard right there by the Luxor, and I was like, “Whoa! Whoa—how did this happen?” I told my mom about it, she drove over

here, and—being a mom—she started crying and taking pictures of it and sending it to family members and all that, so that was cool. Clubbers might not realize yet that you’re quite the producer. Your track “Crank,” for example, has a good floor-filler vibe to it. How often do you work your originals into your sets, and do you know of other DJs who have your tracks in rotation? It’s hard for me to play my own stuff. I tend to stay away from it because I’ve heard it so much. I’m weird like that, I don’t know why. Laidback Luke—good friend of mine—he’s been playing a lot of my stuff for a while now, and then Robby Rivera, Tony Arzadon and DJ Vice—another good friend of mine. How did the “No Requests” party concept at LAX come about? At first I did it just as a joke. It bothered me when people would come up to

the booth and just shove their phone in my face with their requests. Or they try to sing it to you. Oh, yeah, that. Or “Hey, can you play that one song?” “Which one?” “Oh, you know, the one that goes like this.” Or “Hey, can you play something we can dance to?” Everybody else is dancing, and it’s like, “Dude, are you serious?” I started making stickers, and a buddy of mine, Jansen from City [Legends Clothing], was like, “Dude, I want to put out a shirt, collab with you.” So that’s what we ended up doing, and my DJ friends were supporting it. They were wearing them out. And some of the servers and porters like them as well. Poking around on your S.K.A.M. Artist profile, you’ve said that you’re

addicted to eBay. What do you look for? I like collecting vinyl figures. Like Kidrobot kinda stuff? Yeah, like Kidrobot, Koz, Be@rbrick stuff. It’s not like in The 40 Year-Old Virgin, but I have a bunch of Be@rbricks around my studio, all these vinyl figures. That online profile is pretty revealing. So, did Gilbert Arenas ever pay you back that dollar that he borrowed from you in the 11th grade? [Laughs.] No! He still owes me! It was for a bag of Flaming Hot Cheetos. The school day Lunch of Champions, right? Man, I wonder how much interest is on that thing right now.

To hear what DJ Gusto is all about, visit






October 18-24, 2012




October 18-24, 2012




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Crystals at CityCenter

SHe wants you!


October 18-24, 2012



C OMMON W E ALTH pouring downtown soon...

“We are hoping to erase the mystery of tea. Like wine and cheese, there’s a lot of confusion about what’s good, how to brew, where to buy, etc.” JUST A SIP


Big Paul’s reviewed, Diner's Notebook and Cooking With Bacchanal Buffet’s chef

The Pit Master


“WHAT YOU REALLY want to ask me is, where is the accent from?” said Paul Nwuli, as he stood behind the counter at his modest barbecue joint, Big Paul’s BBQ. After I’d incorrectly guessed Jamaica and the Bahamas, he told me that he had been born in Houston, but had grown up in Ghana and other West African countries. His mom, it seems, had a long career working for variBIG PAUL’S BBQ ous United States embassies. 3025 E. Desert Paul returned Inn Road, to the States as 380-4227. Open a teenager, and 11 a.m.-9 p.m. that’s where he Mon.-Sat., learned to barnoon-7 p.m. becue. At his resSun. Lunch for taurant, you’ll eat two, $17-$28. things like rib tips, homemade hot links and made-toorder gumbo—the meats slowsmoked using mainly hickory and a few other hardwoods. This is home-style cooking all the way in the best traditions of Texas and the American South, so don’t expect white tablecloths and fancy décor. Aside from a few posters of Wild West icons such as Roy Rogers and the Man with No Name, a.k.a. Clint Eastwood starring in those spaghetti Westerns, the restaurant is a boxy, unadorned room. Order from the counter, where Paul often stands when he isn’t in the back, stoking his fire pit. The ’cue will be brought to your table in a plastic box, and you’ll cut your meats with plastic

October 18-24, 2012

By M J



knives. No worries. The meats are pull-apart tender. First among equals here is Paul’s house-made hot link, the best in the city: a burnished, copper-color link that he cuts five or six times on a diagonal. You can have it with mild or hot sauce, and I suggest mild. There is already enough subtle heat in the link, and the mild, vinegar-y red sauce complements the grainy texture perfectly. The chicken is also exceptional, moist, where many barbecue joints dry chicken out. The skin isn’t rubbery, either, a common flaw in chicken slow-smoked over wood. I ate some, although most people just tear it off and discard it.


October 18-24, 2012


The rib tips were extremely tender, pink inside, the color of the smoke ring you always see on slowsmoked ribs. These go better with the hot sauce, complex and deep red without the cloying, sugary aftertaste of commercial barbecue sauces. My one quibble was with the brisket. It had nice, smoky flavor, but the meat—sliced medium-thick with crusty edges—was a tad fatty, and not particularly tender. Paul’s side dishes are exceptional. The red beans and rice is especially delicious, and I couldn’t stop eating popcorn-size pieces of fried okra served in a paper-lined basket. If you want hot biscuits, be prepared to wait. “I make biscuits to-order,”

Paul told me, “and I have to explain that to my customers.” I was too hungry to wait, so maybe next time. One thing I did do was order some gumbo to go, a dish also made to-order that takes approximately 45 minutes. This is a thick, murky gumbo served with rice on the side, and your choice of either shrimp or sausage. Paul will also make you Southern fried chicken and a real N’awlins-style jambalaya, if you’re willing to wait for those. The accent might be West African, but the food is all-American.




Good VS. Evil LIVE! ONE NIGHT ONLY! TICKETS ON SALE FRI OCT 19 Saturday, February 9 at 8pm The Pearl tickets at // pearl box office // 702.944.3200 // ©2012 FP Holdings, L.P. dba Palms Casino Resort. All Rights Reserved.


Scott Green By K F

THERE’S NOTHING WORSE than being behind the guy or gal in line at a buffet who scoops up the entire top layer of cheese with their spoonful of lasagna. How about finally spotting the beef and broccoli, only to find a heap of broccoli without a trace of beef, or walking up to the sushi bar for sad and soggy California rolls? All problems of the past. At the new Bacchanal Buffet in Caesars Palace, 75 of the more than 500 menu items are presented as individually portioned items in charming little bowls, cast-iron skillets and custom-made china. And unlike the messy, traditional chafing dishes and hotel pans of the past, these fresh dishes haven’t been suffering under a heat lamp, because as soon

as a few guests pick them up, another new batch is put out. The trend landed in December 2010 with Cosmopolitan’s Wicked Spoon, but didn’t stop with the Cosmo. “The miniature dishes are some of our most popular items,” says Bacchanal executive chef, Scott Green. “People eat with their eyes first, … and these minis add a different element to the traditional buffet. It’s not the trough style of feeding people anymore; it’s this little portion, just for them.” Want to give it a try? We snagged Bacchanal’s recipe for its roasted South Carolina shrimp and grits, served in individual cast-iron skillets (try for that Southern, home-cooked look, a little touch that goes a long way.



October 18-24, 2012

S 6


‘Gimme the Usual’ IF YOU’RE DOING your sworn duty as a regular bar patron, one or more bartenders somewhere in this town should know your flavor and spirit preferences. More than just reflexively reaching for your usual as you file through the door and claim your usual seat, he or she should be able to guide you to similar drinks that might appeal to you or, under the best of circumstances, even create something original just for you. Me, I’m an easy mark: whiskey, artisan liqueurs and Italian amaros, stirred Negronis on the rocks with plenty of Campari and, more recently, craft beer. At Artifice, bartender Jillian Tedrow created the Easy Tiger, “a fun, lighthearted take on a classic,”

for one of the downtown watering hole’s loyal regulars who also loves Negronis. Like that classic, Easy Tiger is grounded in gin and Campari, but instead of a dose of sweet vermouth, Tedrow uses yellow Chartreuse, sweeter when compared with the green formula. Also, instead of a good stir, a shake and a splash of sweet and sour adds a tart note and makes the booze-heavy drink just a little more accessible to the masses. A cocktail purist might faint at hearing this but, Tedrow says, “Mixology is about bending the rules, pushing boundaries, making it your own, and [pun clearly intended] mixing it up.” Especially for regulars, the customer who is even more right.


October 18-24, 2012


Watch Artifice bartender Mandy Iacono prepare Tedrow’s Easy Tiger at


“The outlaw outdoorsman with the butterfly tattoos showcases his populist philosophy in Reading Between the Lines.” ART {PAGE 90}

By S B

THEY’RE GIGGLING. THEY’VE been giggling for 35 years. Either they’re escapees from what was once colloquially called the Giggle Factory or they’re Kimberly Glennie and Beth Lano. Both longtime stalkers of Las Vegas stages. One still a-pluckin’ (a harp, that is). One still a-blowin’ (a horn, that is). Both still … giggling.

“Oooh, do you remember …” says Lano (she’s the horn player) to Glennie (she’s the harpist), then whispers in her ear, this time to a full chortle. Turning back to this reporter, Lano recalls a shared road trip to a recording session years ago in which an ill Lano, bolting from the car as Glennie pulled to the side of the road … well,

let’s just say Lano learned not to upchuck in a stiff crosswind. Don’t let their sophisticated status as anchors of the Las Vegas Philharmonic—opening its first full season at The Smith Center’s Reynolds Hall on Oct. 20—mislead you. Reveling in each other’s company, they’re frisky teenagers—even if they’re teenagers in their 50s.

How high school is it, after all, when 54-year-old Lano totes her jammies to 56-year-old Glennie’s home every Christmas for a yuletide sleepover? “We both have a way of looking at the world and we’re kind of balls-to-the-wall kind of girls, ya know what I mean?” Glennie says. “We’ve seen each other


The Harpist and the Horn Player

through relationships, marriages, divorces, raising children, even though I don’t have children,” Lano says. “I claim Kim’s kids, they’re like surrogate daughters to me, I love them very much. They know they can call me if they need someone—or if there’s something they don’t want their mom to know!” Busy babes, these two, as the French horn-blowing Lano is often the only female in a fiveperson Philharmonic horn section, while Glennie rules as sole harp strummer. Beyond those classical boundaries, they’ve

October 18-24, 2012

Music, movies, concerts, comedy, art and ballet breakthroughs

STAGE contributed to movie and TV soundtracks, prowled the pits of production shows and backed up a cadre of Vegas headliners. Only a fraction of their marquee-name employers: Alicia Keys, Cher, Faith Hill, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Tony Bennett, Josh Groban, Andrea Bocelli and Luciano Pavarotti. (Add some warbler named Barbra Streisand when Lano plays Babs’ Nov. 2 gig at the MGM Grand.) “We’ve had a lot of firsts together: We both started playing with Johnny Mathis around the same time,” says Glennie, whose conversational rhythm with Lano is like a comfy hubby and wife, zeroing in on each other’s thoughts, completing each other’s sentences. “What blows [Mathis] away is not only that it’s been so long, but the fact we’re still so young,” says Lano, as Glennie chimes in: “It’s like we’re his children! We’re grown up, and he feels old.” Off the Philharmonic clock, Glennie, a harp instructor at UNLV and CSN, performs regularly at Bellagio’s Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. Longtime multitasker Lano—well, what doesn’t she do? Standouts on her résumé: local radio personality (now on KNPR-FM, and formerly with fellow FM stations KSTJ, KJUL and KQOL) and ex-TV show host (KTNV Channel 13’s Political Insiders). However, that’s when she’s not toiling as a publicist, voice actor, talent booker and crisis management consultant. Best buds since they connected at Indiana University in the late-1970s, they discovered in each other not only laughter and camaraderie, but strength and solidarity. “In the late-’70s, early-’80s,


there were lots of women in the music business, but it was a tough business and you had to be tough yourself,” Lano says. “The guys loved us but that doesn’t mean we’re pushovers. We banded together, often being the only two women in orchestras we played in.” Lured to Las Vegas in 1982, they were hired together for Wayne Newton’s band. “We loved playing with Wayne, it was glorious, but we had some issues during the Wayne years that we very much hung together on,” Glennie says. “Sometimes everybody is looking to save a dime and we have certain responses that keep us from getting thrown under the bus.” Prod them for juicy backstage

insights on famous names and you get near-unanimous praise, given that they still perform— and book gigs—in this town. Loose lips sink long careers. Even when a negative memory surfaces, so does a measure of discretion. “There’s this one big name, a really big deal in town, and he just runs his musicians down,” Glennie says. “Runs them through a sausage factory.” Who? Who? Drop one teensy-weensy name! … Nope. Lady’s too much of a, well, lady. Compared to the va-va-voom of Strip showrooms, hanging with the Philharmonic was initially a secondary gig for the pair. “We did the orchestra when we had time,” Glennie

says. “We thought, it was the least-paying thing, you’re lucky to have us, blah, blah, blah. But as the years have gone by, that’s very much shifted because the orchestra is a different ball game, much more prominent.” Reflecting on their decadeslong, through-thick-and-thin alliance, Lano notes: “It’s not an act. Our friendship is so strong that we are really strong together. She’s always there for me. When I got a divorce, she pulled my butt out of the fire.” Tossing in a here-here!, Glennie admits that “there have been strains and stresses, but we got past those and we’re in the golden years of our friendship. It’s a lot deeper. This 30-


October 18-24, 2012


year knowledge of somebody is as meaningful as it gets.” Even onstage—in the midst of the music—this tight twosome manages to communicate. “We can talk to each other with our eyes,” Glennie says. Scan the Reynolds Hall stage. See the brunette harpist and the blond horn player? That’s them. Hey, ladies! Conductor’s baton is heading toward the downbeat. … Horn up, Beth. … Fingers poised, Kim. … Shhh. No giggling.




October 18-24, 2012

A CURIOUS WEEK for live music in Las Vegas, and I’m curious to see a few intriguing bands. First, guitarist Les Dudek delivers dynamite bluesrock solos over pop-rock songs and instrumentals at 8 p.m. Oct. 18 at Boulder Station’s Railhead. Dudek has side-manned for everyone who’s anyone—Cher, Stevie Nicks, Boz Scaggs, Steve Miller Band. He even played lead guitar on the Allman Brothers Band’s “Ramblin’ Man.” (Freakin’ “Ramblin Man”!) Dudek hasn’t put out an album since 2003’s Freestyle, but he’s a seasoned road warrior who performs material from his solo albums as well as the many songs he co-wrote and recorded with others—for example, Scaggs’ “Jump Street,” on which Dudek plays slide guitar. If you’re a fan of cool classic rock, this is your show. Darkwavers Cold Cave bring their icy, cavernous synthpop to Beauty Bar at 10 p.m. Oct. 19. Initially this band had triggered my “bad New Order tribute act” alarm. But in the year since sophomore release Cherish the Light Years on Matador Records, I’ve gained a true appreciation for Cold Cave’s electronic, dance-floorresonating tunes. My faves include the moody “Confetti,” with its layers of keyboards, and the propulsive, noise burst-blessed “Icons of Summer,” a gothic daydream in which singer Wesley Eisold laments: I don’t want to die until a little light inside is found. Sure, it’s more hook-sweetened than many dark-wave disciples typically take their black nailpolished music, but genuine electronicmusic fans should attend. OK, so the real highlight for me will be avant-sludge-rock veterans Melvins, who will sonically level Artifice at 10 p.m. Oct. 23. “Melvins Lite,” corrects singer/guitarist Buzz Osborne, reminding me he’s currently touring with a smaller, three-piece incarnation of his now nearly 30-year-old band. Indeed, the “Lite” tag confirms he’ll be joined on-


stage by bassist Trevor Dunn (Mr. Bungle) and drummer Dale Crover in a classic power-trio format. “I just don’t want some dork coming up after the show telling me how it wasn’t the full Melvins lineup,” Osborne says. “I don’t think I should have to listen to that. Generally speaking, we have more of a cult following. Pretty soon, though, I’m going to poison everyone, so we won’t even have that.” Melvins may be for those with eclectic taste, but Osborne insists it was never an aim. “I didn’t even know we made weird music until the thousandth critic said we did,” he says. “We make music we’d like to hear. We operate our band the way we’d want other bands to operate. We’re not perversely doing something that we know millions of people won’t like.” It’s likely hundreds of Artifice-goers will relish Melvins Lite’s hard assault. (The band just released its Freak Puke album June 5 and is concluding a Guinness World Record attempt to execute “the fastest tour of the U.S.” ever.) Besides, Osborne and Co. don’t earn many negative reviews. “Critics are always wrong,” Osborne says. “One of my favorite sayings is, ‘It’s in God’s hands. I just hope he remembered to wash them.’” Melvins Lite are comin’? Quickly, what’s the best brand of earplugs to buy at CVS! E-mail


CD REVIEWS By D R

Little People


DJ Dan

1. Between the Buried and Me, The Parallax II: Future Sequence 2. KISS, Monster 3. Mumford & Sons, Babel 4. Coheed and Cambria, The Afterman: Ascension 5. Muse, The 2nd Law 6. MGK, Lace Up 7. Tame Impala, Lonerism

DJ Shadow

8. Converge, All We Love We Leave Behind 9. Mellowhype, Numbers 10. All Time Low, Don’t Panic



October 18-24, 2012

According to sales at Zia Record Exchange on 4503 W. Sahara Ave., Oct. 8-14.




October 18-24, 2012



BOBBY POLYMATH: Whether you call him The Scientist, Ruler Zig-Zag-Zig Allah, Bobby Digital or plain old Robert Diggs, there’s no putting a label on the WuTang Clan’s RZA … unless that label is “genius,” or something along those lines. RZA has an inventive streak a mile wide; he’s a talented actor, budding film director and immensely gifted hip-hop producer. And at the House of Blues on Oct. 19 ($29), he’ll be appearing as all three. This tour is intended to promote his feature-film directorial debut, The Man With the Iron Fists—a film he wrote, directed and scored, because simply doing one of those things isn’t enough for RZA. If he overachieves like this off the stage, just imagine what he’ll do onstage.


ECONOMY ROCK: Concert tickets are too dang expensive. Paying $106 to see the Killers, a band we once saw at Café Espresso Roma for free? Preposterous. I know it’s usually not the band’s choice to charge such a premium, but at the same time, I wish more shows had ticket prices in line with the Oct. 20 show by the Toadies (pictured) and Helmet at Vinyl—a relative steal at $30. True, you’ll only know two songs played at this show, and those only vaguely (Helmet’s “Unsung,” the Toadies’ “Possum Kingdom”), but listen: For less than half the price of a tank of gas, you’ll get some of the best alternative hard rock the 1990s had to offer. NOW ON SALE: I almost feel bad about saying this now that I’ve learned he’s gone into rehab, but Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day—scheduled to play the MGM Grand on Feb. 8 ($39-$83)—needs to hear it anyway: We kinda like this side of you, man. We like the Bille Joe who smashes guitars, exposes himself and cusses out his corporate minders, as he did at Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio Festival at the MGM last month. It’s the first time I’ve noticed you in years, sir, and if you can bring that passion back here next February—minus the substance abuse—you just might get me interested in seeing a Green Day show.



By D A


October 18-24, 2012

EVERYWHERE YOU WALK around MCQ Fine Art Advisory, you are confronted with things that should be there …. but kind of, sort of would not if it weren’t for these five artists. You have to literally step over JW Caldwell’s popping images and well-turned wording to gain entry to the gallery: A shark painted on the driveway acts as sentry. Once inside, a Caldwell mural extends from the floor up onto the ceiling, suggesting a response to that eternal question: What if Howlin’ Wolf covered the Ramones? Erik Beehn’s photographs don’t hang on the walls, they are the walls. His tiled, segmented images create imaginary windows to imperfect memories. Working with light and scale models, a downright playful Mark Brandvik is

installing a rocket ship that appears to be blasting up through the chimney. An empty artwork crate becomes a Hitchcockian diorama in the hands of Shawn Hummel. And an alcove next to the restroom becomes a seamless spot to incorporate RC Wonderly’s textured mixing of paint and particle board. Featuring MCQ Fine Art Advisory’s art handlers, Install Art Here turns the gallery into a canvas. It also serves as a literal homecoming for owner Michele C. Quinn, as she re-installs herself in Las Vegas after two years on the East Coast. “We wanted to think about it differently,” Quinn says of the exhibit she conceptualized. “We came up with something site-specific, not just as a representational show.” In practice, that means that each artist

displays his talents in the context of a redesigned home full of nooks, crannies, a fireplace, and a yard out back. By doing so, Install Art Here captures the spirit of what seems to be going on in the community surrounding the gallery. As downtown gets reinvented, it reminds us of the endless possibilities in what has long been familiar. “We are trying to find our relevance within the local art community,” Quinn says. “We’ve come up with a ‘think tank’ approach, where the artists use our space to conceptualize an idea, without it being commercially developed.” Install Art Here at MCQ Fine Art Advisory, 620 S. Seventh St., through Dec. 31, 366-9339,


By J S

Doug Stanhope was doing a show here and said part of the reason he can say what he says is that his audience expects it. Are you in the same place with your crowds? In front of the audiences who come to see me, I know I’m comfortable doing what I want to do. I think nothing is off-limits. Doug Benson gave a good description of it. I saw him in San Diego with [Joe] Rogan and we were talking, I think it was about [Daniel] Tosh, or whatever the outrage of the day was. He said something about, “Hey man, it’s the human tapestry. You have to be able to talk about everything.” I thought that was such a smart way to describe it. While rape is a terrible thing, it is a subject just like airline peanuts, just like 9/11, just like the Titanic sinking, just like Forrest Gump. They’re all just experiences and subjects. Some of them are much more serious and much sadder, but none of them are off-limits for a comic to talk about. What kind of fucking banal act are you going to have if nobody would ever be bothered by the subject matter?

This special was much less personal than Monster Rain. Were you consciously trying to change styles? Whenever I talk about stuff—whether it was Mel Gibson, or Tiger Woods, or the TSA—I try to at least include myself in it or at least give examples of how my life had similar moments. If I’m going to bash Mel Gibson, if I’m going to make fun of fucking Tiger Woods, I’m at least comfortable telling on myself and talking about my private stuff. You know who described this to me was this guy driving me one time. He said you get these knots in society. A comedian’s job is to take your knuckle and dig into that knot and work it out, but people are avoiding it. It’s like as a comic, our job is to talk about the stuff that’s bothering everybody. JIM NORTON You’re laying off? How do you not talk about the AuroClub Madrid at ra shooting, or whether it’s Sunset Station, 8 9/11 or the Muslims rioting, p.m. Oct. 19, $29.50. or whatever it is you want to For the full interview, talk about? visit VegasSeven. com/Norton. Why do you think audience members will jump

If you were going to be in a cable show, what would it be? Huh. The Wire is off the air. Probably Game of Thrones. I would play Khaleesi’s toilet—a talking toilet that goes, “Yum.”

October 18-24, 2012

For Offended you got Ozzy to introduce you. How did that go? I had always wanted Ozzy to introduce me from the toilet. What a great way to walk onstage. We went to Ozzy’s house and we needed him to drop his pants. I’m like, “All right, are we going to put a towel down or whatever?” He didn’t give a fuck. He just drops his pants. I saw his balls. It was fucking unbelievable. Then I remembered, oh right, this is Ozzy. He doesn’t give a shit. He’s not shy, he’s a fucking maniac.

on a bit for being “too soon” when a comic dives right into a news item? They’re fucking dummies. For some reason people think with comedy that they have an equal creative input or content approval. How come nobody complained about movies about 9/11? How come nobody complains about Jodie Foster portraying a rape victim, but if you make fun of it you’re a terrible person? I never care if people are bothered. I prefer they weren’t, but my job is not to talk about what they’re comfortable hearing. My job is to be funny and express what I think.


JIM NORTON IS certainly America’s most transsexual-friendly comic, if the beginning of his new special Please Be Offended is any indication. (Judging from the sloppy make-out session, anyway.) The Opie & Anthony co-host, author of two best-selling books (I Hate Your Guts, Happy Endings: Tales of a Meaty-Breasted Zilch) and frequent Tonight Show contributor is also one of America’s most darkly personal comics. Yet the new special from the 44-year-old Norton, which aired on Epix and is now available streaming on Netflix, is far more political than 2007’s Monster Rain. We caught up with Norton to talk about that tone shift, working with Ozzy Osbourne and which cable show he’d want to join.



STRIP POSTSCRIPT: Peepshow’s interim Bo Beep will be Holly Madison peep Angel Porrino. Again. Taking over as lead chest from Madison—as she did during Madison breaks in 2010, 2011 and earlier this year—Porrino will portray the fairy tale sex bomb Oct. 22-Dec. 2. New star Coco Austin arrives Dec. 3 to play La Peep. Given that Peepshow tries to tell an actual story, shouldn’t they hire an actual actress? Anyone got the number of Meryl Streep’s agent? Can you imitate Amazing Johnathan’s scrunched-faced death stare? E-mail photos to

October 18-24, 2012

demain while also teasing us with it. Exhibiting linking rings, he suddenly notes they’re already linked. “Well, that’s a time-saver,” he quips, tossing them away. Card tricks go cleverly awry. Throw in Steven Wright-style absurdity, as when he jokes: “Tell your friend the word ‘gullible’ is not in the dictionary, then watch him run to prove you wrong.”   Irreverence, even if delivered less manically now, is still his trademark. “You like birds?” he asks someone in the crowd, then brandishes his middle digits. Care to contemplate the Blue Men and oral sex? One visual bit with Tanya does. Political correctness gets mugged when he says “fag” and calls rape “surprise sex.” Yet it’s part of the warped creation that is Amazing Johnathan, even easier to accept now that there’s a geniality to his kamikaze put-on. And yes, a genuine illusion ends the show. Kinky comedy is cooler now that the madman has mellowed.


O, AMAZED ONE, you seem less than amazed. Maybe a tad dismayed. “How’d you find this room, there’s no signs anywhere,” Amazing Johnathan says to the 50-odd ticket-buyers massed by the makeshift stage, surrounded by emptiness that could hold another 180 at Windows at Bally’s, a onetime buffet room. “Bally’s Corporate—well, we’ve got a nice quiet place to rehearse,” he says. Surprisingly, he’s mildly peeved, not genuinely pissed. Mellowed madman? Yes, or as mellow as the eyebrow-arching, headband-wearing comedy magician gets in his new venue—shared with Tony n’ Tina’s nightly nups—since he relocated there in late August after departing Krave’s Harmon Theater. Signage for his show is sparse, the upstairs room tucked into a far corner of the hotel. And his new Halloween-themed attraction, the SCREAMont Experiment at the Las Vegas Club on Fremont Street, might be siphoning off some fans from his show. What’s more intriguing, though, is the Johnathan persona shift from dangerous comedy to casual weirdness. Sure, there’s still knives, Dranoguzzling and the odd crushed bird or two, but he’s kinder and gentler at the edges these days, gore at a minimum and his staged cruelty toward ditzy assistant Tanya (Penny Wiggins) dialed back to fake annoyance. Maybe it’s his heart condition diagnosed five years ago. Or the car wreck he survived earlier this year. Or just time. Fortunately, he’s just as entertaining, and without the constant threat of pretend mutilation—did anyone really enjoy the sight of him sucking on his hanging eyeball?—easier to enjoy.  Following a funny opening in which Bruce Block, a member of Johnathan’s company, voices a talking-rabbit telling dirty jokes, Johnathan ambles on. Coaxing an audience member to play stooge, he good-naturedly harasses him for 45 minutes, enlisting his target to help with tricks, then setting him up for sight gags and punch lines. Deliciously ironic and postmodern in his approach to magic, Johnathan ridicules our naïve wonder at leger-


Awesome Argo


October 18-24, 2012

By M P T M S

THE PROPULSIVE HOSTAGE thriller Argo, the third feature directed by Ben Affleck, just plain works. It’s heartening to encounter a film, based on fact but happy to include all sorts of exciting fictions to amp up the suspense, whose entertainment intentions are clear. The execution is clean, sharp and rock-solid. It’s as apolitical as a political crisis story set in Iran can get. But “the first rule in any deception operation is to understand who your audience is.” So wrote Antonio J. Mendez, the Central Intelligence Agency operative played in Argo by Affleck, in his most recent book dealing with the undercover operation dramatized here. Working from a nimble script by first-time feature scribe Chris Terrio (who has a sense of

humor and a sense of pace), Affleck understands that movies are deception operations, too, and that his potential audience for Argo is large and wide. Prior to Argo, Affleck directed the Boston-set features Gone Baby Gone (2007) and The Town (2010), and his strengths are very old school. Not to pin it on his jaw, but Affleck’s directorial approach is what you might call square-jawed. The technique is not subtle or original; his camera always seems most comfortable when framing a sweaty face under duress in chin-tohairline close-up. But Affleck’s approach works; it gets the job done. At a key moment near the end of Argo, a moment designed expressly for cathartic applause and a swell of relief, you know what happened the other night?

The audience applauded. The real stuff first. In 1979, the year of Kramer vs. Kramer, 52 Americans were taken hostage in Tehran by Iranian revolutionary factions sympathetic to the Ayatollah Khomeini. Meantime, however, six U.S. State Department officials in the employ of the American Embassy escaped before they could be captured and hid in the Canadian ambassador’s home. Mendez concocted a plan: Fly into Tehran, posing as a member of a Canadian film crew scouting exotic locations for a Star Wars rip-off titled Argo. Then fly out again, this time with the six Americans playing the roles of his Hollywood colleagues. In preparation, Mendez worked with Hollywood makeup artist (and longtime CIA contractor) John Chambers, played by John Goodman, in setting up phony offices for use by “Studio Six Productions.” The movie in preproduction needed to appear quasi-plausible. Alan Arkin does wonderful, incrementally sly things with the fictional role of an old-time producer enlisted by Chambers and Mendez to assist in the dodge.

Most of Argo sticks with the fortunes of the escaped State Department officials, and once Mendez arrives in Tehran, the debates turn to their chances of surviving such a flagrant ruse. The film begins with the Iranian mob storming the embassy. Even when Argo is kicking back and taking time for more casual moments among the officials, the tensions (and the close-ups designed for tension) rarely cease. One of the peculiarities of the real-life situation was how the officials’ days and nights in the home of the Canadian ambassador (Victor Garber) were made easier by good food and wine. The clock was ticking, however. The Iranians, they believed, knew the six U.S. citizens were hiding somewhere. Affleck, as director, never lets the audience forget it. Bryan Cranston plays a composite authority figure back in the states, Mendez’s overseer. His is a face (you may know it from Breaking Bad) that says: I mean what I just said. Damn it. The real-life Argo mission, according to Mendez, was risky but went off without a hiccup. The movie throws in all sorts of hitches and

screw-tightening bits, and by the time maniacal, knife-wielding Iranian thugs are giving chase on the Mehrabad airport runway ... well, even if it seems hoked-up, and it does, it works. The film’s Oscar nominations are presumed to be a sure thing. The script works from an extremely efficient outline of story beats and payoffs. It’s not rich in portraiture; the State Department officials, all well played, aren’t well particularized on the page. Affleck’s performance comes with a touch of Movie Tough Guydom that pushes Argo into familiar territory. Parts of Argo belong strictly to the movies. Other parts, the best parts, have one foot in the movies and the other in a real-life pressure cooker. In the populist vein of Ron Howard’s Apollo 13, Affleck’s rouser salutes the Americans (and, more offhandedly, the Canadians) who restored our sense of can-do spirit when we needed it. We get into jams; we get out of them. The movies like those stories, wherever they fall on the fiction/fact measuring stick. Argo (R)









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By M P T M S

BRUTAL AND OFTEN very funny, Seven Psychopaths is writer-director Martin McDonagh’s answer to Barton Fink, a crimson yarn that, like that Coen brothers film, imagines what happens in a worst-case-scenario when a Hollywood scribe comes down with writer’s block. Unlike a worthy audiencepleaser such as Argo, which can be recommended to almost anyone, McDonagh’s splattery jape is more of a ... specialty item, let’s say. But as with In Bruges, the playwright and filmmaker’s previous feature, McDonagh’s story—set in Hollywood, the land of sunshine, development deals and nervous envy that crawls like a vine up a trellis—actually gives its killers interesting things to say en route to the next rendezvous with destiny. Colin Farrell plays Marty, the authorial stand-in. Tense, preoccupied, an alcoholic and a B-minus boyfriend (Abbie Cornish plays his squeeze), Marty already has blown past

his deadline to turn in a screenplay titled, promisingly, Seven Psychopaths. His unemployed actor friend, Billy, played with delightful worminess by Sam Rockwell, is Marty’s biggest fan. He wants to collaborate with him, in fact. Marty’s not so sure. Along with his pal Hans (Christopher Walken), Billy makes a kind of living kidnapping dogs and collecting reward money upon return. Then, fatefully, they take the wrong dog, a shih tzu belonging to a murderous gangster (Woody Harrelson, who replaced Mickey Rourke early in the project). He is one of several genuine psychos who give Marty something to write about. The hard way. McDonagh’s characters may be awful, or simply lost, but they’re all addicted to the art of the tall tale and the dark allure of the nightmarish bedtime story. Part of the enjoyment in Seven Psychopaths is seeing everyone’s stories, real or imagined, spill out onto the screen.

When Tom Waits, marvelously droll, enters the piece as a particularly focused brand of serial killer (a serial killer of serial killers, in fact), McDonagh folds illustrative flashbacks inside the main narrative. (McDonagh’s play The Pillowman worked from a similar strategy, turning the stage over to depictions of various fairy tales.) Seven Psychopaths opens with a couple of prime supporting players, Michael Stuhlbarg (the lead in the Coens’ A Serious Man and a Pillowman Broad-

way alum) and Michael Pitt, as hired killers waiting atop a reservoir to eliminate their target. Their banter kills time, amusingly. Then the real killing begins, and in a matter of a second, ends. It’s swift and horrible and by definition a sight gag of the bloodiest sort. As Marty gets sucked deeper and deeper into trouble created or simply found by wellmeaning Billy, the film crisscrosses L.A. and then ventures out into the desert east of L.A., into Joshua Tree National Park.

McDonagh, like so many other writer-directors, is in love with the fable of the Old West, the prospects of frontier justice. Just when most movies would tighten the screws and deliver routine thrills, Seven Psychopaths unwinds a little, hanging out in the desert with Marty, Hans and Billy, as they work on the script while prepping for an outlandish showdown. The blend of black humor and sincere pathos doesn’t always coalesce. Certain bits stuck in my craw, particularly a dubious reference to the My Lai massacre and the way the dogwalker played by Gabourey Sidibe is treated. Shot on film by cinematographer Ben Davis, scored with sinister ripples of doom by composer Carter Burwell, McDonagh’s work is defiantly two-faced about its intentions. Marty, the fictionalized McDonagh, yearns to write something meaningful and humane. Yet he can’t help it: His impulses run the other direction. And he’s saddled with that tantalizing title, the promise of which he must fulfill. McDonagh has the same yearning. The result is a clever, violent daydream. But McDonagh’s skill behind the camera has grown considerably since In Bruges. And the way he writes, he’s able to attract the ideal actors into his garden of psychopathology. Seven Psychopaths (PG-13)


October 18-24, 2012


Here Comes the Boom (PG)

Sinister (R)

Taken 2 (R)

Frankenweenie (PG)

Wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t Back Down (PG)

Hotel Transylvania (PG)

End of Watch (R)

The Master (R)

Trouble With the Curve (PG-13)


Looper (R)

October 18-24, 2012





The Buick Enclave Surprise and Delights -Sarah Kahi Sometimes in life, we don’t always know what’s good for us, or what we might actually like before we’re willing to give it a try. Buick as a brand happens to fall into that category for those who consider themselves a part of Generation X or Y. Our grandfathers drove Buicks and really, there wasn’t anything sexy about them and frankly, no one wants to drive “grandpa’s” car for the most part. With that said, however, Buick is proving what was once old, can in fact be new and reinvented, turning a brand of yesteryear into something stylish, fresh and uniquely sophisticated. New for 2013, we are introduced to the Buick Enclave, known as the best-selling, three-row crossover in the market at the moment as rated by J.D. Power and Associates, competing with such notable brands as Acura’s MDX and the Audi Q7. Surprising maybe, but after a recent press preview in Louisville, Ky., the Enclave elegantly showed off why such comparisons are not that unthinkable on a 200-mile trip through the back roads of the countryside.

The stunning exterior features a new extended grill with chrome side moldings, a hood that is more sculpted and reconfigured LED lights, and 20-inch wheels add multiple nice touches to the overall presentation of the Enclave. The first thing you notice when slipping into the Enclave is how plush and beautiful the interior is. With a rich brown leather interior, dusted chrome accents and contrast stitching throughout, the Enclave makes for a distinct dwelling place, comparable to that of a stoic library; this is definitely not your grandfather’s Buick anymore.

In the end, the Enclave offers a dynamic and comfortable ride that is beautiful, quiet with plenty of power, making it a great contender even for those who didn’t know Granddad really was pretty cool.


Boasting an Intelllink system that offers cellphone connectivity, Pandora and Stitcher compatibility and voice recognition, the every-day executive can truly find what they need in this new, modern day Buick, minus the espresso maker. Moms on the go will be happy they don’t need to sacrifice space or style with easy access to the third row. For those who are skeptical, Buick offers an aggressive, risk-free 2-year lease option designed to reintroduce customers to the brand and the Buick experience. A twoyear lease with maintenance and repairs included, similar to the fan favorite BMW lease program, creates a value proposition for Buick that will only grow stronger as more consumers start to take a second look at the brand.


for as little as



Titan Insurance and design are service marks of THI Holdings (Delaware), Inc. Nationwide Insurance is a service mark of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. Price based on March 2010 analysis of available national data for liability-only policies. Subject to underwriting guidelines, review and approval.

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October 18-24, 2012

AFTER A WEEKEND TO FORGET, IT’S TIME TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF A TOUGH SPOT FOR GIANTS WHAT’S BETTER THAN watching your $110 on Wake Forest +3½ at Virginteam turn a 24-0 halftime lead into ia: This is the third straight week that a historic 35-24 loss, as your (former) Virginia will take the field as a favorite. Pro Bowl quarterback channels his That’s notable because the Cavaliers inner Ryan Leaf? Watching it while haven’t covered all season. In fact, sitting two rows from the field. As they haven’t covered in 11 months, a if witnessing the Monday Night span of nine games. Hell, forget about Meltdown in San Diego in person the spread: Virginia has just two wins wasn’t bad enough, it came after yet since November, against Division I-AA another losing wagering week (my Richmond and Penn State (17-16, only bankroll is plummeting faster than because Penn State’s kicker did his best Felix Baumgartner). Charlie Brown impersonation). The worst part? The Chargers folSince beating Penn State, the Cavalow up their Denver debacle with a liers have dropped five in a row by bye, meaning I can’t recoup a huge the combined score of 196-102. And chunk of my recent losses they’ve scored more than 20 by wagering against them points just twice all season. this week (in what I repeat: Virginia would’ve been a is favored for the classic letdown third week in a row! spot). Maybe $110 on Boise somebody around State -28 vs. UNLV: town will give me Speaking of epic BANKROLL: 10-to-1 odds that the collapses last week, $3,468 Chargers’ front office the Rebels were will spend the bye extremely Chargerweek working out a like in fumbling away three-year contract the Fremont Cannon extension for Norv once again, squanderTurner—I’d take some ing a 31-14 halftime of that sweet action. lead to UNR and In February 2010, we gave Matt On to this week’s losing 42-37. Now they “$7,000” to wager. When he loses selections (note: all head to Boise State, it all, we’re going to replace him point spreads are as which has won five with a monkey. of Oct. 16) … in a row and held five $330 on Redskins of six opponents to 17 +6½ at Giants: 12-2. points or less. After That was the point-spread record blowout losses at Utah State (35-13 as for NFL underdogs last week. 2-0. a 21-point underdog) and Louisiana That was Washington’s record against Tech (58-31 as a 27-point underdog), the Giants last year, blowout wins of Bobby Hauck is now 0-16 on the road, 28-14 and 23-10 with Rex Grossman losing by an average of more than 30 under center. Zero. That’s the numpoints per game. And you can count ber of times New York’s defense has on no hands how many times the faced the electrifying Robert Griffin Rebels have brought home the money III, who shook off a concussion last during that 16-game road losing streak. week and lit up a quality Vikings $110 on Buccaneers +3 vs. Saints: defense in a 38-26 victory. Let’s see, the Saints needed a furious Washington catches the Giants in a second-half rally to beat San Diego tough sandwich spot here. New York (which we now know can’t hold a is coming off a 26-3 beat-down of the lead) in an emotional Sunday-night 49ers in San Francisco (guess whose home game (which their exiled coach “best bet” was the Niners minus-5½?) and general manager were allowed to and has another divisional game on attend) to avoid going 0-5 … and now deck at Dallas. And while the Giants they’re favored on the road in a divisional did rally from a 14-0 hole at home game? As the kids like to say: WTF? The against Cleveland two weeks ago Bucs, who beat New Orleans 26-20 (winning 41-27 as a 7½-point chalk), at home last year (one of their four they’re still just 6-15-1 against the victories in 2011), are coming off a 38spread in their last 22 regular-season 10 thrashing of the Chiefs (whose only home games. In fact, you have to go victory to date came in New Orleans). back to November 2008 for the last Tampa, one of the two favorites to time New York cashed in consecutive cover in Week 6, has cashed in four of contests in the Meadowlands. its five games this season. For the rest of this week’s college and NFL picks—plus Matt’s daily “Best Bet” Monday-Friday—visit



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What’s your answer to those who ask: Is a public radio station really necessary? It fulfills a need that no other media [can]. The programming is necessary and part of [helping to] educate the electorate so that when they make choices at the ballot box about whatever the issues are, if they listen to the station and hear what’s going on, they’ll hear both sides of the stories and they can make an informed decision. That’s an important part of what we do. So I think it’s absolutely necessary.

Lamar Marchese


October 18-24, 2012

By M J

IT’S BEEN MORE than five years since Lamar Marchese turned off the lights in his KNPR office for the final time and waltzed into retirement. Had Marchese started this relaxing phase of life by plopping on a recliner and grabbing the remote, nobody would’ve blamed him—not after he spent nearly three decades growing the state’s first public radio station from a figment of his imagination to a multi-station network with more than 100,000 listeners across four states. No, nobody would’ve blamed him at all—except Marchese isn’t the recliner-and-remote type. Rather, he immediately took advantage of his newfound freedom to get reacquainted with a longlost love. “When I was in college I had done a lot of photography, but it sort of got put aside by having a 30-year career in broadcasting,” Marchese, 68, says from his part-time home in Indian Shores, Fla. “So when I was deciding what to do in my retirement years, I bought a Nikon digital camera and started taking pictures.” Some of those pictures have since found their way into galleries and museums in both Florida and Las Vegas. His latest exhibit—Namaste: Faces of India and Nepal, a photo essay from Marchese’s monthlong trip to both locales in 2011—begins an 11-week run Oct. 20 at the Southern Nevada Museum of Fine Art in Neonopolis. While Marchese appreciates the opportunities to showcase his works, he cautions against calling this a second career. “I always thought of it as an avocation. I don’t want to work anymore. I’ve worked enough.” How would you describe your photography style, and what was it about India and Nepal that appealed to you? After coming back to photography, I decided what I really wanted to [photograph] was people in public places that I

find of interest. So it’s sort of a mixture of photojournalism and portraiture. … It’s all spur of the moment where I see somebody I think has a cool face or outfit—I’m really interested in the human face and figure. Other people do landscape

photography, that kind of thing, but to me, it’s people. And the people in India and Nepal are just so colorful and so photographic. The men love huge mustaches and beards, and the women wear these incredible neon saris that are so bright, with lots of gold jewelry. I took 2,200 photographs over that one month, and it was painful to have to narrow it down to the 46 that are going to be in the show. What was most enlightening about the journey? Those countries are just so ancient and so different. It really opens your eyes. I called it the most “other” place I’ve ever been—the cows on the street, the holy men walking around painted in all these different colors. We went to the Taj Mahal, which everyone had seen pictures of, but you’ve never seen it until you’ve seen it in person, how incredibly gorgeous it is. … George Harrison, when he went to India, said, “The [farther] one travels, the less one knows,” which sounds counterintuitive, but I think it’s true. How do you know if you’re a good photographer? I see photographs when I walk around the world. So when I can match up the picture in my mind with the picture on the print, I know I’ve done a good job—at least in my estimation. That image that you have before you take the picture is actually the image

you get. And that takes some skill and some knowledge, and I’m getting better; I think I’m doing better work [now] than I did a couple of years ago. … I read a quote from a photographer—I can’t remember who it was—who said, “The best photographs are the ones when you capture a moment that’s never going to happen again.” So that’s my sort of guide. What was the secret to KNPR’s success overall and your success personally with the station? Persistence. If nothing else, I am a persistent person. I think, too, we were filling a need in the community. Radio had pretty much given up news as a format—there was lots of talk, but not a lot of news. But we were fulfilling the need of an independent news source that wasn’t spinning the news one way or the other. Then the arts community was growing, so the classical music format found an audience. As for my success, it was based on being able to recruit great staff and work with the board of directors to help get resources for the radio station. And it was just me saying, “I’m not going to let this go. I believe in it, I think it’s something the community needs and it’s worth fighting for.”

National Public Radio stations virtually have advertising. Why not just go all the way— wouldn’t it be less annoying? It would change the nature of the institution. What we have now is called enhanced underwriting—it’s what the FCC allows us to do. There are restrictions on what you can say and what you can’t say, so you have to tread a pretty firm line. There are some people who would say, “Well, just let them be commercial.” The problem with that is, since we rely so much on individual memberships, [those members might] say, “Oh, I don’t have to give that money. They’re running commercials, and the commercials are paying for the broadcast.” There’s an old saying in public broadcasting: Commercial stations are really all about delivering ears to advertisers. Our focus is about providing programming to people. Who was the most memorable guest to appear on KNPR during your tenure? [Former President] Jimmy Carter came in one day. He has a son who lives in Nevada, and some years ago his son was running for some political office. So Jimmy came to help pitch his son, and he happened to be at the radio station when we were doing a pledge drive. He said, “Oh, I want to meet all the volunteers.” So we took him back in the room where we have all the phone banks set up, and he went around the room and shook hands and took pictures with everybody, and was just as gracious as can be. Then he says, “I want to do a couple of spots for you guys. Put me in the studio and give me some copy.” So we did.

Lamar Marchese talks about KNPR’s early struggles and shares his fundraising philosophy at Marchese.

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The Storytelling Issue  

From Christmas Day cop chases to midnight brawls, we've crossed the line a time or two. Fortunately, we've lived to tell the tales.

The Storytelling Issue  

From Christmas Day cop chases to midnight brawls, we've crossed the line a time or two. Fortunately, we've lived to tell the tales.